Media spin makes it impossible to know just how much of the stories they cover is real and fairly-reported.

However, we have our own litmus test here.  Hub volunteers for a homeless project in the town and is heavily involved, both as a trustee and as a volunteer.  Here are three stories from today:

1. A young mother misses a meeting with her agency – the first she has ever missed, and has her cash support withdrawn for six weeks – she has nothing to feed herself or her child with.   When she queries it, she is told that the office has to achieve a target number of sanctions each week – and she is needed to be a success statistic for them.

2. Another guy is knocked back by the job seekers’ agency – he failed to attend a job interview. Why? – they had sent him to two interviews at the same time with different companies.  He attended one, but is penalised for not being simultaneously at the other.

3. A mother has her children taken into care.  She immediately has two spare rooms, so must pay the bedroom tax. Hopefully the children are now being returned to her, but there will be no refund.  Had she downsized to avoid the tax, she would have lost the children permanently.

(Image from


  1. Here they deduct 5o% automatically when beneficiaries transgress. Matters little if they are short of money. They have to get an appointment here to see somebody from Work and Income. Some applies to seniors on Superannuation – appointment first.


  2. The media doesn’t print stories like this…I know from my days as a social worker how inhumane the system is. I had a client with mental health problems who was to anxious to be around people and they stopped her money, I spent so many hours that I didn’t have appealing these sort of stupid decisions. Maybe you should send this post to the papers!xxx


  3. Its a shocking state of affairs many single mums have been left to cope alone where are the father of these kids 🙄 they need to go to court to help pay their keep not tax payers plus some have loads of kids where many who are working literally cannot afford more than two children system is wrong 🙄


  4. Your litmus test is accurately reflecting what this target run inhuman, inflexible ‘welfare’ system is doing to perform to government targets, for stats for public consumption, and for the ‘right’ political soundbites. It is u.k.wide. It is horrendous.

    Scottish Government, is, or has, decided not to universally impose the bedroom tax, which is another inflexible and generally inhuman Westminster Government installation.


      1. I do have thoughts on that subject. It is hard to conject, fiscal issues will play a major part in any considerations, whatever they relate to.


    1. My sister is married to a member of the ‘Upper Chamber’ and suggests we send this piece of info to our MP and the Sec of State. Hub is now checking all the details in preparation for doing so. Makes us feel we’re doing something … :**: however little 😦


  5. And I am sure there are many many other such stories…. I had my Jobseekers Allowance stopped randomly for a couple of weeks also years ago…. it was horrendous and very stressful but I could at least turn to relatives for help… not everybody can do that. The punitive attitude behind this cruelty is truly evil…..


      1. They will indeed…. Have to say same of the media seem to be a big driving force behind the viciously spiteful attitude towards the poor/unemployed/disadvantaged etc….

        Interestingly, many people employed in the jobcentre places are on benefits themselves – housing benefit in many cases, because their income isn’t enough to afford their rent….:roll: so many people on benefits are also working full-time….. it is a mad mad world….!!


    1. It’s in flagrant disregard of the Old Testament teaching that we should not deprive the poor of their means of livelihood. And this on the day we learn that although Barclays bank continues to lose millions, the bankers will still get millions in bonuses. It’s utterly inexcusable.


      1. Yesterday I was in Edinburgh and people were living in a graveyard sheltered by large covered tombs……… I wanted to take a photo but my wife was with me and would have objected.


      2. It’s awful that anybody should have to live like that especially in the west, which is comparatively wealthy compared with the developing world.


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