Squatting and benefit payments

You go away, return and find your house has been taken over by squatters.

That is the impression peddled by the ConDem government, who last criminalised squatting.

The reality is empty buildings, buildings that have often been empty for years, being brought back into some form of productive use.

My own personal experience has been helping squatters who were stopping a corrupt council, which had already kicked out its own tenants in order that flats on the Pepys Estate could be demolished and the area redeveloped. A prime location on the banks of The Thames opposite Canary Wharf.

The squatters were running programmes for the kids on the estates.

Another location was a derelict building that had been brought back into use as a social centre.

Where are the squatters to go, live on the streets?

Squatters now face fines of up to £5,000 and up to six months in prison for squatting residential property. For the time being, squatting commercial property remains a civil matter.

Irene Gardiner who has squatted a cottage for eleven years and even pays Council tax, is preparing to challenge to challenge the new legislation.

We have a ConDem government determined to cut benefits, to hit the poorest and worst off in society.

The Paralympics has just ended. This is not the reality of the life of disabled people any more than athletes at the Olympics have anything in common with the obese who pig at McDonald’s.

For the majority of disabled people, life is scraping by fearing their benefits will be cut, their Freedom Passes and Bus Passes taken away.

The latest to hit the disadvantaged is Universal Credit, that has to be claimed on-line. This immediately cuts out many claimants as how many can afford a computer and a broadband connection, let alone know how to use either a computer or internet?

Use a net café you say? Well first of all find one, secondly where does the money come from to pay for use of a net café?

Well use a library. What library, or not noticed part of the slash and burn is to close libraries.

And where they have computers, too often they are old and antiquated and unable to access modern websites.

Computers in Aldershot and Farnborough Libraries are a disgrace. Ten minutes to log on, watch the screen slowly render, try opening more than one tab in browser and the system crashes.

And what of security? Government has a cavalier attitude to data security.

If application is made on a public system, there is no security. Added to which, those accessing their own details may not know to log out, meaning the next person using the system will have access to all their personal information.

Fraud is going to be rife.

Payment will be monthly, not fortnightly. Most claimants run out of money before the end of the fortnight. A problem which is going to be far worse when payment is fortnightly.

It is going to be pay day for drug dealers.

I am familiar with drug dealers frog marching druggies to a cash point machine when they know benefit payments are due.

One idiot has suggested housing officials visit claimants with a laptop to help them fill out a claim! Cost! How many will get mugged of their laptops?

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