Sunday, 6 May 2018

Isn't staying in the UK wonderful when you are ill? I am being sarcastic of course.

I have finally been able to complete an online application for Council Tax benefit this evening having been advised to do it online. This benefit was taken away from me at the time when my income related Employment and Support Allowance was taken away from me last year in April (2017).

I have therefore had to pay full council tax since then even although I had an even lower income (i.e. about £200 per month and the council tax was £130).
My Employment and Support Allowance was reinstated and upgraded on appeal in late January 2018. I mistakenly believed the council tax benefit would be reinstated without me needing to do anything, as Glasgow City stopped it without any word from me although I subsequently advised them of my change in circumstances. This is what had occurred on previous occasions.
However I became aware that they were still taking payments.
I finally had the energy to go into their office on 16th April 2018 where I was advised to make the application online. With ME I only get small windows when I can deal with things like this so I have finally done it this evening.
I have discovered the council tax benefit can only be backdated 6 months. Therefore I have lost money due to this, as my appeal was not heard until January, and also the delay due to my own illness for which I am receiving ESA in the first place.
This adds to the money I have lost because I was unable to apply for Warm Home Discount this year due to being taken off ESA. So all in all the UK Government and DWP have screwed me out of £300 or more due to me being taken off ESA through no fault of my own and certainly not due to an improvement in my health. Great isn't it. Isn't staying in the UK wonderful when you are ill?

You wouldn't need to be desperate for benefits advice with GEMAP

On 6th March 2018 I called GEMAP originally to request an appointment to discuss my DWP benefits, who have successfully represented me in my Employment and Support Allowance appeal in January and discovered that I now had to be referred by my GP somewhat oddly, thus needlessly adding to the GPs workload.

On 19th March 2018 I attended my GP who was happy to refer me.
I phoned GEMAP on 06.04.2018 to make an appointment for a benefit check after they had called me and left a message after the referral made by my GP at Bridgeton Health Centre.
I was allocated an appointment on Thursday 3rd May 2018 at 1130am, and the call would be made to my home telephone number.
When it became apparent to me that I would not be home on the above date and time I called GEMAP again on Monday 30th April 2018 around noon to ask the advisor to call me on my mobile number. I was told that most appointments are made to peoples mobile numbers so this would not be a problem.
I was available on my mobile number at the required time and received no call.
On returning home I discovered that the call had been made to my landline home number as originally arranged and not to my mobile number as per the revised instructions.
I called the office immediately and was advised that the only thing that could be done was to arrange for another appointment on Friday 25th May.
This new date is now 81 days or 2 months and 20 days since I originally needed and wanted the advice. I am most annoyed given that the recent delay is entirely due to their mistake and not mine. You wouldn't need to be desperately needing this advice would you?

Thursday, 24 August 2017

Are you a Scottish voter who has turned back to Labour?

I completed a Guardian questionnaire today in relation to Jeremy Corbyn of the UK Labour Party touring Scotland at the moment.

This is a link to the story and questionnaire below...

Why did I vote SNP at the UK General Election earlier in 2017, and vote for them as standard?

I believe Scotland is a country and therefore should actually be a real one i.e. the same status as all other countries in the world, not some underling status which means we get everything we want within the UK as long as fits with what England wants. Currently we can never outvote England in the UK House of Commons (don't get me started on the House of Lords!). I believe that Scotland has a different viewpoint that would positively add to the world, that it cannot do so whilst in the UK as it is not allowed to. I also strongly believe in social justice which requires to be combined with Scottish autonomy as what fits the whole of the UK will never completely fit Scotland as our land mass and population are distributed very differently. The UK is such a financial basket case with such a lop sided economy and far too much debt. In order to have proper social justice in the near future independence is a no brainer. I believe a country should not be conned - Norway has a £1 trillion oil fund with less oil than Scotland but Scotland has £0 and a supposed share of debt which it did not run up as part of the UK, so I shall never trust the UK to manage anything on Scotland's behalf ever again.

Do you think the Labour Party will make significant gains in the next UK election?

Hopefully they will in England as they are actually offering something for the whole population unlike the Tories who always just look after number one. I am unsure as to whether they will though as the Labour MPs seem to be hell bent on destroying their party so far under the Corbyn leadership. However in Scotland I would hope people will stick with independence supporting parties and politicians. The UK is such a financial basket case that social justice for the many not the few will be hamstrung by debt and other decisions like privatisation for generations. This will only be made worse by Brexit unless something earth shattering occurs. It is well beyond time for Scots to say good bye to the UK. It won't be plain sailing but it will be on our terms. We may not know the future but I would rather my country was in charge of its own future and not constantly being dragged along in another countries wake particularly when Scotland didn’t actually vote for what is happening.

What are the main challenges Labour face in picking up more seats?
  1. Previous economic incompetence of the most epic proportions on almost the same scale as the Conservative Party.
  2. Becoming the nicer wing of the Tory party since the mid 1980s and therefore a complete lack of trust as a result.
  3. Voting for austerity over and over in the House of Commons.
  4. Labour preserving the House of Lords even although they have been going to abolish it for about 100 years.
  5. Taking over 100 years to give Scotland a parliament of any sort when this was part of its early manifestos, and then not even calling it one when it finally did! 
  6. Labour constantly complaining that the SNP Government should be mitigating this and that, that is being enforced by Westminster when if Scotland was independent it would not have to. And to make these protestations said in seeming all seriousness even more ironic they fought for the powers that allow the Scottish Government to mitigate these things to be retained at Westminster! In other words they are crack pots!

I could go on and on. They are a party of great ideals but have largely failed to advance any since they were in power from 1945 to 1951 in the UK.

Monday, 31 July 2017

Confusing and frustrating experiences with Scottish Power website. What is new?

Why is it when I use the Scottish Power website trying to enter my meter readings it is always a confusing and frustrating experience? 

I transferred tariff at the end of May and my account still shows the old tariff name. In order to find out the actual costs for my new tariff it is like trying to find a needle in a haystack - I think I have found it by printing out 30 pages of price tables. And when I try to enter in my meter readings I must now go into several different screens. If you happen to enter a reading into the wrong screen the site allows you to do so but then rejects any subsequent readings made on the same date. I am also yet to find any way of contacting them except by telephone. And this from a company that states 86% of customers are satisfied with their online experience. One wonders what website these good folks are actually using!? 

And anyone that thinks I can just change supplier is wrong. Due to the type of heating I have I can have any electricity supplier I like as long as it is Scottish Power. In other words they can do anything they like and I am completely powerless to do anything. That is the privatised energy market in the UK for you. Wonderful isn't it?


Friday, 9 June 2017

Thanks England. Scotland enjoys its wee shots at your General Election.

I would just like to thank England for allowing Scotland to have a wee shot in your General Election. It was a needless election, just like last years European Referendum, both caused by internal problems within the Conservative Party and nothing to do with the good of the UK or Scotland.
For once though the additional Tory seats elected by Scotland seemed to have allowed Theresa May to stay in Downing Street with the help of the DUP (who seem more Tory than the Tories if that is possible). Usually it is a one way street i.e. that it is English Tory votes that mean we have a Tory Government in Scotland. 
It remains a mystery to me why any Scottish person could actually vote Tory however. They obviously don't know the misery the Conservative Party continue to cause across the whole of the UK and Scotland in particular, or even worse they do not actually care. #GE17

Wednesday, 24 May 2017

That's me just back from being at the Glasgow Lourdes, also known as the disability assessment centre.

That's me just back from being at the Glasgow Lourdes, also known as the disability assessment centre. According to the UK Government you go in ill or disabled and come out miraculously cured. If that was actually the case I would have no complaint whatsoever. What usually happens however is you remain ill, and probably more so, as you have had the income you need to exist taken away for no reason other than they require to remove half the attendees from benefits so that the company contracted to do the assessments can get its bonus. And then you require to go to tribunal to get the money you are actually entitled to back and in the meantime have to live on air and water alone. I have yet to see what positive this actually achieves apart from a big needless bureaucratic jungle (jobs for the boys) which results in the weakest and most vulnerable in society ending up in misery and on the breadline. Perhaps Ruth Davidson and Theresa May can actually tell me (as Nicola Sturgeon asked Ruth to do on Sunday). #FreeScotland #Dignity #Lourdes #Bonus #UKGovt #TheYESmovement #MAYhem #NicolaSturgeon

Tuesday, 16 May 2017

The Westercraigs Nusery School saga continues (now almost 10 years and counting)

This is a deliberate direct copy of the post made in December 2014 as the position has not changed one jot!!!

I have lived in Meadowpark Street for 20 years now. 

Having the secondary school opposite was an advantage as it meant an almost open outlook and barring the odd issue with vandalism and litter there was never really a significant problem. 

With the arrival of the so called 'temporary' Westercraigs Nursery in summer 2007 all that changed. 

The 'temporary' Westercraigs Nursery School in 2007
With the secondary school the times when there is noise were limited to morning before the pupils went in, lunchtime and also when the pupils finished. 

With the nursery the noise levels are much greater, and can last all day. To get away from it I moved my main bedroom to the back of the property which has the drawback that is comes directly off the kitchen but this inconvenience is less when compared with being disturbed if I sleep later in the day as I am long term unwell. 

I have also had to invest in double glazing at the front to reduce the adverse noise pollution which was a financial outlay I could well have done without since I am living on benefits of about £100 a week, but the resulting reduction in noise has been terriffic. 

Of course I can do nothing about the visual polution - rather than an open space used for car parking during the day we are now faced with straggly bamboo trees and half broken bamboo fencing both placed there temporarily after a meeting with the Council in 2011 in front of a grey portable cabin structure which never melts in the background as it is so in your face.

Even if it is warm I don’t usually open my front windows (particularly in the room I am in) as otherwise I frequently cannot hear people speaking on the phone or indeed concentrate on anything (even with them shut this is difficult). 

I now also feel really uncomfortable being in the my front garden during the day as I was told on arrival by an employee of the school that I was not to disturb the children by cutting my grass! Nice to know that they consider their neighbours (not!).
The playground for the Nursery School children

I now keep my blinds largely shut during the day and as a result live in twilight world most of the time, but it better than looking out right into to the office of the Nusery School.

I don't really understand the positioning of this school here. It is far too close to homes and is therefore bound to cause disruption. It is also not a suitable location due to the shape of the site. Looking at the picture on the right it can be seen that the playground is divided off from the main school grounds by an access road to Whitehill High School campus. The needless additional hassle to the staff must be considerable on a daily basis as they must accompany the children between each half on each and every occasion. It also must be costing Glasgow City Council a fortune to rent the temporary buildings. They have plenty money for needless alterations to George Square that they can see from their windows but don't seem to care very much for what the residents can see from theirs.

I continue to look forward to the nursery being moved although by the looks of things despite it being considered ‘temporary’ it is becoming more and more permanent by the day (and I also have to say more and more unsightly). So I think I shall probably be dead before it moves at the rate Glasgow City Council moves.

It really has ruined staying in this street as previously it was quiet and tidy looking. I would never have moved here if that had been directly opposite the flat I intended to buy. If my circumstances had been different I would be moving to get away from it, as several of my neighbours have done all ready.

Temporary. almost 10 years and counting!

Previous posts on this subject: