A man who stole to eat after his benefits were stopped has been jailed.
Ian Mulholland admitted stealing three packets of casserole steak from Sainsbury’s when he appeared at Newton Aycliffe Magistrates Court .
The court heard he stole the meat to eat after changes to his benefits left him hungry.
The 43-year-old drug user, who faces amputation of his legs, apparently spent nine weeks without money when attempting to change benefits to reflect his disability.
He missed out on payments after failing to attend appointments.
Ben Pegman, mitigating, said Mulholland was unable to afford food and, because of his ulcerated legs, was unable to get to the local foodbank.
He added that the recent offending was as a result of his situation.
“He is free of heroin and in receipt of methadone but this is not offending to top that up but offending to eat.”
Mulholland, of Borough Road, Darlington, pleaded guilty to stealing the food, worth £12.60, and was sentenced to six weeks in prison.
A suspended prison sentence imposed for a previous offence was also activated, meaning he must spend 14 weeks behind bars.
Major Bradshaw is now calling for the abolishment of benefit sanctioning which sees claimants’ benefits reduced or stopped entirely if they are suspected of non-compliance.
Predicting a Dickensian future, he said:
“Sanctioning is not only forcing people into greater poverty, it is forcing people to take desperate action such as stealing food.
“Around 70 per cent of the 50 to 58 people we help at our Friday night emergency foodbank have been sanctioned – many of them over 50 years of age and all of them desperate.”
Source – Northern Echo, 22 Oct 2014
“Cruel” benefit sanctions represent a return to Victorian England and are putting lives at risk, according to a food bank manager.
Salvation Army minister Colin Bradshaw has called on the Government to stop sanctioning, as the Darlington foodbank he manages reaches its first anniversary.
Sanctions are used to reduce or stop benefits when a claimant fails to comply with rules laid out by the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP).
However, the strategy has been widely criticised, with opponents claiming sanctions are often implemented for spurious reasons.
Mr Bradshaw says more than 70 per cent of the foodbank users on his register have been sanctioned.
He said: “One man worked most of his life and had to claim benefits when his workplace went under.
“He was in hospital with a chest infection and missed a job centre appointment, was sanctioned and came to us.
“Weeks later, he died of a heart attack – we have no proof sanctioning caused it but his friend said it was the stress and shame of having to use a foodbank.
“I’ve heard many stories, from people in hospital to people sanctioned because they didn’t apply for jobs they weren’t qualified for.”
“I’ve got nothing against some form of discipline to make sure people use the system properly but the way sanctions are used is cruel.
“It serves no purpose in saving money and is leaving people hungry and vulnerable – in fact, it comes at a cost because people are committing crimes to feed themselves.
“It takes us back to Victorian England, we’re victimising people who are unemployed and inflicting cruelty on them.
“If someone commits murder, they’re innocent until proven guilty and can defend themselves– here, someone at a desk decides something’s wrong and you’re sanctioned and any appeal can take five weeks.
“It leaves people unable to eat or heat their homes and it’s putting lives at risk – people are coming to us because they’re starving.
Homelessness among young people in South Tyneside is getting worse, a borough charity boss warned today.
Figures released by the South Tyneside Churches Key Project show that the number of local young people presenting themselves to the charity as homeless every month has risen from 20 to 30 to between 30 and 50.
Controversial welfare reforms, including the so-called ‘bedroom tax’, have been blamed for some of the recent sharp rise in local homelessness among young people aged 16 to 25.
The group say more young people are also now relying on emergency food packs to get by.
Key Project chief officer Jean Burnside said: “There is no doubt that homelessness among young people is increasing.
“There are a number of reasons for this: shortage of suitable accommodation for young people, the impact of welfare reforms, particularly the so-called ‘bedroom tax,’ the increase in sanctions and a harsher regime.”
She added: “Debt is another major factor, which impacts on people becoming homeless and relationship breakdown is still the most common reason for young people having no home.
“We have also provided a record number of emergency food packs to young people in need – 380 in the year 2013/14, compared with 247 in 2012/13 and 165 in 2011/12.
“The demand for our services is increasing at the same time that the budget is decreasing.”
KEY Project say there has been an increase in the number of young people under 25 who present as homeless.
Between January 31 2014 and June 20 2014, 150 young people presented as homeless.
Out of 150, 96 of these were male and 54 female.
A further 50 vulnerable young people presented themselves as homeless between June 24 and August 15.
Miss Burnside added: “Initially, we had between 20 and 30 young people present themselves as homeless each month.
“This has increased to between 30 and 50 each month and the age is getting younger.”
The issue has been highlighted ahead of KEY’s annual general meeting on October 10, where the guest speaker will be South Shields MP Emma Lewell-Buck.
The AGM will be held at the Salvation Army Citadel, in Wawn Street, South Shields, on Friday, October 10, at 11am.
Miss Burnside added: “We are delighted that our speaker this year will be Emma Lewell-Buck.
“Since Emma’s election she has campaigned on a number of issues, including opposing the ‘bedroom tax’, calling for action on the cost of living crisis and reform of child protection.”
Source – Shields Gazette, 02 Oct 2014
First the Lib Dems pretending they didn’t really like the Bedroom tax, now this. What next ? Iain Duncan Smith proposing benefit increases ?
In an act of breath-taking hypocrisy, the Salvation Army, along with the YMCA, have both signed a letter to The Times calling the current benefit sanctioning regime unfair and counter-productive.
This comes despite both organisations being involved in ‘Mandatory Work Activity’ and therefore responsible for reporting unemployed people to the Jobcentre to face sanctions if they don’t turn up for unpaid work placements.
The Salvation Army has even been praised by the DWP for ‘holding the line’ on workfare after scores of charities distanced themselves from the scheme. When peaceful anti-workfare campaigners visited the Salvation Army in protest at their use of workfare, the charity locked them inside and attempted to have them arrested with fabricated stories of staff being man-handled.
The Salvation Army have repeatedly defended their involvement in mandatory welfare-to-work provision and also their operation of a Work Programme sub-contract. Claimants on this scheme, including those on out…
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Darlington community workers are urging people to increase food bank donations, as the summer holiday sparks a surge in demand.
The Salvation Army provides free food parcels every Friday evening and the King’s Church has operated the Food Store and three other distribution centres in the town since February 2012.
Both look to provide emergency food resources for those unable to feed themselves or their families with all work carried out by hard working volunteers.
> Hope they are all volunteers – Salvation Army has a poor record regarding Workfare.
Summer is a crucial time for the projects, as the beginning of six weeks of school holidays leaves many families unable to cope.
King’s Church network manager Lisa Marsh said: “It is important that people can put food on the table.
“The last two summers has seen an increase in the demand for more food donations, often from families and single parents.
“The lack of access to free school meals and added pressure of buying school uniforms is very important.”
Parents often cut down their own food intake in order to feed their children.
Colin Bradshaw, of Darlington Salvation Army, which also runs a food bank, said: “Dozens of people attend every Friday evening.
“The start of the summer holidays will see an increase in numbers as many people who wouldn’t normally attend need the support of food banks as the main meal of the day is not provided by schools for children”.
Items such as tinned meats, pasta, long life milk and cereal are the major priorities for donations.
Mr Bradshaw praised the generosity of those who provide food donations.
He said: “Thanks to everyone who supports our food bank, such support makes a huge difference in the community.”
Donations can be made at The Salvation Army, Darlington Citadel and the King’s Church, Darlington.
For more information, visit darlingtonsalvationarmy.org.uk or kingschurchdarlington.org/foodstore
Source – Northern Echo, 23 July 2014
The entire homelessness industry has questions to answer about how they are treating those they claim to support, but none has sunk so low as Jesus’ little fucking helpers in the Salvation Army.
A local paper in York reports that the Salvation Army are now teaming up with the police in a scheme which will could see homeless people grassed up to the DWP if they are caught begging.
According to the paper, Salvation Army members, along with the police and local council busy-bodies will be patrolling the streets of York hunting for beggars. The charity claim they will provide housing advice whilst the police will be ‘reminding people’ that begging is against the law, no doubt by arresting them. Not to be outdone, representatives from York Council say they will inform the DWP if people found begging are receiving any benefits. Which means their benefits will be stopped. …
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So desperate are the DWP to hush up the names of charities using workfare that they have been reduced to using a blog post titled “Chris Grayling is a lying bastard” to prove how horrible everyone is being to them because of their forced work schemes.
The post was part of the evidence provided by the DWP at yesterday’s tribunal brought to appeal the Information Commissioner’s Office’s (ICO) decision that charities using workfare should be named. This followed a Freedom of Information request made two years ago asking for the names of organisations who are accepting workfare placements on the Mandatory Work Activity scheme.
The DWP have pleaded that if this information was made available then workfare will collapse such is the awesome power of Boycott Workfare. Reams of evidence has been produced by the department, largely taken from the media and Boycott Workfare’s website, which they claim shows…
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Charity shops in South Shields town centre are being hit by a “Marks & Spencer effect”.
The retail giant vacated the town’s King Street on March 29.
Now some local charity stores say that has resulted in a noticeable reduction in footfall in and around the town centre, threatening their continued existence.
The Age UK outlet has just closed its Fowler Street store after profits plummeted and now St Clare’s Hospice has admitted its nearby store may also need to consider closure.
David Briers, chief executive of Age UK South Tyneside, said the decision of M&S to move out of the town proved a particularly “big blow”.
He expressed hopes that a new premises could be found as part of the council’s £100m ‘365’ masterplan to regenerate the town centre, but admitted “real disappointment” after the charity’s income-generating shop had to close its doors.
That decision had become increasingly inevitable in recent months.
The outlet was taking around £2,000 a week just 18 months ago, but that figure had fallen to between £700 to £800 this year.
Mr Briers added: “Closure was not a decision we took lightly, but the closure of Marks and Spencer was a particularly big blow.
“The footfall in the town centre is just not very good now and our income in the last 18 months has fallen by more than half.
“This coincided with an agreed policy nationally to close under-performing shops and the lease being up for renewal on the Fowler Street premises.
“There was also a double blow with South Tyneside Council phasing out discretionary rate relief. Profits were falling but rents were remaining the same.“
“I’m really disappointed we don’t have a shop in South Tyneside now that generates income for the charity and provides a good service and good quality toys and clothes for families on lower incomes.
“But we remain committed that if a suitable site becomes available, perhaps as part of 365, we will look at the situation again.”
David Hall, chief executive for St Clare’s Hospice, admitted the long term future of its Fowler Street store was also uncertain, again citing the M&S effect.
He said: “We have noticed a drop off in trade in recent times. Marks and Spencer and other big high street names obviously drew people into town.
“We’ll be considering the future of the premises when a release clause on the lease can be activated in a couple of years time.”
Lynn Hansom, of the Salvation Army shop in Fowler Street, added: “M&S was obviously a big loss, a lot of the older generation went there because of the quality of goods and we’ve felt the impact. Thankfully, we still have loyal customers.”
Marks & Spencer re-located staff at its King Street store to its Silverlink outlet in North Tyneside.
The closure angered loyal customers in South Tyneside, with thousands signing a petition urging the company to consider returning to new premises in the town at the earliest opportunity.
Council officials stressed its commitment to supporting borough retailers.
A council spokesman said: “We know that the economic climate is making things tough for retailers.
“This is by no means a problem confined to King Street, with high streets across the country facing tremendous pressure and competition from out of town retail outlets and internet shopping.
“We are doing everything we can to support South Shields Town Centre and only this week revealed the first steps in our very exciting masterplan for the area.
“Working with our development partner, Muse, the 365 vision will help us to create a vibrant town centre, offering a high quality shopping and leisure experience and helping to draw in more shoppers.
“We are not complacent and hope our investment in the town centre will act as a catalyst for further economic growth in the future.”
Meanwhile, a charity shop boss has expressed concern for the long-term future of Fowler Street in South Shields.
A section of the street is to be demolished as part of the town’s long-term ‘365’ regeneration strategy.
But in the meantime the top half of the street, on the road towards the town hall, looks “desperate”.
That’s the view of Helen Hill, manager and director of the Feline Friends charity shop in nearby Winchester Street.
She said: “Apart from the pizza shop there’s no reason to go up that part of the street and there’s uncertainty about plans for the block across the road which is due to be flattened as part of the 365 plan.
“We manage to get by because of our regular customers but we could do with the street being more vibrant.”
A source for the Scope charity shop, in Fowler Street, said the charity would “monitor” the impact the closure of the nearby Age UK shop has on its own trade, adding: “Obviously there is a concern its closure could result in a knock-on effect for other traders.”
Source – Shields Gazette, 05 June 2014
Join in with an online blockade of the Salvation Army’s social media and let them know what you think of their prolific and unashamed use of forced unpaid labour.
Make your feelings known and you may even get to join the prestigious ‘Banned by the Salvation Army over workfare related comments’ facebook group.
Although the Salvation Army are steering clear of the government’s latest workfare programme, the 6 month long Community Work Placements, they are still major users of workfare, taking part in Mandatory Work Activity and the Work Programme. The Salvation Army have expressed their support for workfare for sick and disabled people using the disturbing phrase “emancipation through employment”. Their enthusiastic support of workfare has won them praise from…
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The Week of Action Against Workfare begins today with actions across the UK and online scheduled over the next seven days.
The week has been called in response to mass unpaid work schemes such as Traineeships and comes in the month that Community Work Placements are set to be launched. These mandatory placements will mean unemployed people forced to work in at charities and in so-called community organisations for a period of six months.
In a huge embarrassment for Iain Duncan Smith, workfare’s biggest supporters The Salvation Army have already announced that this scheme is too exploitative even for them to stomach. The charity had been invited by the DWP to bid for a lucrative sub-contract to administer the placements. Other…
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