A load o’ shite


At our advice stalls we always try to ask people leaving the jobcentre if they need any help. “Any bother?” we asked one guy. “Nah. It’s a load o’ shite!” he said, rapidly retreating.

The interaction was brief. The man’s comment illustrates the general level of frustration at the system. It also demonstrates a more worrying phenomenon: claimants expect bad service from the DWP. It is a short step from expectation to acceptance. When you are routinely faced with bad service, it is easy to accept it as normal. That is of course what the UK Conservative government want. Their belief is that if they make the system as obstructive as possible, people will either give up complaining, or simply not apply for benefits in the first place. The SUWN is a voice for these people.

Jimmy is was also at this week’s stall. He is an older man, close to state pension age. He is on Universal Credit and had the standard grumbles, including the meagre allowance and the initial five-week wait. He contrasted it with when he’d last been unemployed. Unemployment benefits have never been generous, but Jimmy seemed almost nostalgic about the old welfare system. Listening to him was a bit like chatting to a veteran telling his old war stories. He thanked us for our work.

Aidan is somewhat younger. He also told us he was signing onto Universal Credit. He is handing in sick lines, and waiting on a Limited Capability for Work Assessment. He has been told he has to use a computer to look for work, despite being dyslexic and not knowing how. With regards to his health issues, we told him he was probably also eligible for PIP.

Brenda is an older woman who must be in her eighties. Her daughter, Anne, is herself coming up to retirement, having missed out when the retirement age for women was increased. (The WASPI generation). Anne has specific health issues and is unable to work, but because of a moderate amount of savings she is not able to claim Universal Credit. We advised that she may be eligible for PIP, which is not means tested.

Thanks to Jock, Tony, and Garry for helping at this week’s stall

2 thoughts on “A load o’ shite

  1. I would say it’s much the same here in England too, in my experience of being long-term older unemployed I can safely say that everything connected with the Jobcentre, everything they say and do, and everything they require you to do, is indeed a load of shite from start to finish, but it never does finish, there is just no end to their shite. I was on the Right Steps To Work course for 12 months, ending in August, and now they are sending me on another bullshit employability course run by Interserve for the next 6 weeks. It just never ends. I do constant jobsearch, I find some bullshit to apply for, I take in printed evidence of all the jobs I’ve applied for each signing appointment every fortnight and the Adviser can’t be bothered to even look at the evidence. It’s all a big charade to enable them to tick boxes to justify their own jobs. I’m not far off 60 and am worn out, I don’t even feel capable of working full time, I have high cholesterol, high blood sugar, and a hiatus hernia, am taking stomach meds. for life, and have a bit of arthritis in my foot and hands. The jobs I see advertised are all miles away, often early starts or shifts and I have no transport. They are always invariably described as “fast paced”, meaning they obviously want younger workers. It’s hopeless and my only hope at all is to live long enough to get my State Pension at age 67. Until then the nightmare continues.


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