Jimmy Stirling's DWP Diary: In 2016 the DWP paid me the grand sum of £2,642

63-year-old Jimmy Stirling finds news of bumper pay salaries at the BBC hard to stomach as he tries to make ends meet

I AM Jimmy Stirling, a 62-year-old unemployed graphic designer, photographer and musician, single grandfather and social housing tenant living in Glasgow.

I receive Jobseeker's Allowance of £50 per week and have a very small pension payment of just under £25 per week. I do voluntary work for my neighbouring community and look after one of my granddaughters for two days per week.

I was recently conscripted to take part in the UK Government's Community Work Programme, where I would be forced to work for my Jobseeker's Allowance, which I see as slave labour. This not volunteering, this is not being paid a wage, this is conscription.

I am against this terrible programme and this is my experience in trying to avoid a six-month, 30-hours-per-week sentence just to juggle the government's statistics to make them look good.

Below is my latest diary update. You can read the others here.

14 July 2017

Today was a regular signing on day. I asked my work coach when the jobcentre I use would be closing. He figured within the next year. He also said that I would probably be on Universal Credit by that time as Jobseeker's Allowance is being phased out. I thought I would have avoided that.

Universal Credit means that I get paid monthly and instead of my rent being paid directly to my housing association the money is given to me so that I can pay my rent to the association myself. 

Budgeting for a month instead of two weeks means a bit of juggling but having been used to monthly salaries in the past, I will be able to do this, albeit with a vastly reduced income.

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And talking of incomes, I was sickened to see some of the salaries that the BBC is handing out to the predominantly London-based people after it released details earlier this month. 

My P60 issued to me in May showed that the DWP paid me £2,642 for 2016 - that’s around £50 per week to pay for fuel, internet, phone, TV licence and a life insurance, followed by food and clothing. 

My small pension which I took out gives me and 'extra' £1,166 per year. I remember my first salary in 1974 was £1,181! 

Prices, even in the hard discounters, are rising but Jobseeker's Allowance has been frozen, and has been for a few years, so I have to watch the pennies carefully.

Picture courtesy of Andrew_Writer

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