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To think its completely outrageous for the govt to not include internet access as a necessity on the voucher programme when

(504 Posts)

they are now demanding all benefit applications and correspondence has to be online? I think it is disgusting. Its pushing already marginalised and often vulnerable people beyond the edge. In our Borough over 20% of folk do not have internet access. These people are generally the poor, the foreign, those with MH issues. Is this just another step to ensure the poorest most vulnerable members of society have no voice or access to services?

TwoBrasDontMakeABodice Thu 28-Mar-13 14:54:16

It's not free to sit in McDonalds and use their internet. They're a bit funny about people just hanging around inside to keep warm. Like most places!

www.mcdonalds.co.uk/ukhome/Restaurants/Free-WiFi.html

It. Is. Free.

HillBilly76 Thu 28-Mar-13 14:54:43

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Could you just think big picture for a bit? It a government demands engagement through a specific medium, is it fair to deny access to that medium? by virtue of "choices" we are no longer able to make for ourselves regarding spend on a voucher. maybe we have a pc at home. maybe the internet has been switched off, maybe we need that £30 to get back online, access benefits etc

TwoBrasDontMakeABodice Thu 28-Mar-13 14:55:24

You can sit there till the cows come home - LOADS of students do - getting free WiFi. I promise!

TwoBrasDontMakeABodice Thu 28-Mar-13 14:56:28

Did the jobcentre ever pay for people to have phones in order to get jobs? Sorry but I think that people have to be expected to pay their own way. You can buy a second hand PC for next to nothing these days, and internet dongles aren't exactly expensive. It's up to people to prioritise their spending, and to plan for the future instead of living for the present.

YES!!!

EasilyBored Thu 28-Mar-13 14:58:16

I imagine they all buy at least one thing while they are there.

Oh dear. yes. let them eat cake indeed.

EasilyBored Thu 28-Mar-13 15:00:45

You cna prioritise your spending till the cows come home, but for quite a lot of people it would a choice between prioritising food and electricity and access to the internet.

Poor people get screwed over all the time (pre pay gas and electricity meters for an example). If you can't afford the bus fair to the library to get on a computer, then what?

I'm sick of this 'every man for himself' attitude these days. Those on the highest horses have the farthest to fall.

TwoBrasDontMakeABodice Thu 28-Mar-13 15:00:51

I imagine they all buy at least one thing while they are there.

They don't need to, but hey, that's the attitude that got them there in the first place. If that is true, then they are dense.

HillBilly76 Thu 28-Mar-13 15:01:04

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And actually yes the jobcentre does provide phones free for people to make job applications. havent been down with the peeps recently? second pc for next to nothing? how much would that be? and a dongle? Do you not get how poor many many people are?? eat not heat? heard that phrase? But yeah, people down on their luck are just not thinking hard enough. or are possibly just stupid. or lazy. or a combination of all three. they couldn't possibly just be very very poor at this point in their lives. Oh no.

ohiohello Thu 28-Mar-13 15:01:54

I think this discussion is focusing on the nitty gritty details too much.

A lot of the things being raised (what if they don't have a laptop? What if it's a 40min bus ride to the library? what if the library isn't open that day? what if they can't use computers? and so on) are just distractions.

The only person who's hit the nail on the head about this, IMHO, is the poster who mentioned the point at which we ask people to take responsibility for themselves.

At what point do we step in and say, actually, see the finite pot of cash that we have to dish out laptops, free bus passes, skills training, and so on... that group of people are ones we can't afford to help. Sorry. Whilst this group, are (single illiterate single mum with genuine disability who, say, has no money through a paperwork admin error at the job centre).

It's defining that line between people we can afford to help vs the people we can no longer afford to help which is the key thing.

And yes, there is a line that needs to be drawn, in my opinion - we've been pretending for far too long that the pot is infinite.

usualsuspect Thu 28-Mar-13 15:02:17

What is wrong with some people? 'Next to nothing' not exactly expensive' to you maybe.

Can't you get your thick heads around the fact some people don't have 'next to nothing'

HillBilly76 Thu 28-Mar-13 15:02:30

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So you reckon its okay for people to litter a commercial premises with no intention of buying anything while using the internet access the business provides for paying customers? anyone else you thinks its ok to rip off on a daily basis?

EasilyBored Thu 28-Mar-13 15:02:49

They're all just too busy watching their flatscreen TV's and petting their goats to bother with a budget. Obviously.

I may be off topic here but I am really shocked that anyone would need a crisis loan to buy sanpro. Surely you just have stuff, and not suddenly need to borrow money to buy some?

I thought they were for sudden disasters?

RedHelenB Thu 28-Mar-13 15:05:07

Two bras - it is not free. It is there for CUSTOMERS ie those who spend money on drink & food!!!

Do you really imagine they put it there so that non spending welfare claimants can access the internet!!??

The social fund is a tiny tiny portion of the welfare spend. is it strictly vetted. piling more conditions by removing choice over tiny things like prefering to buy your toilet paper (to replace the tampons you are not allowed to buy) at a cheap local shop or market rather than a deal struck with a big retailer like tesco is just demeaning and dehumanising. And however rubbish you think those who do not manage to access the internet are..they exist. ANd have as much right to access government services as anybody else.

EasilyBored Thu 28-Mar-13 15:05:59

That sudden disaster might be that all your benefit money has been stopped due to a clerical error. Or you got made redundant and you wont get any job seekers allowance for 4 weeks (due to monthly payments). Or you have a house fire and have no possessions as they are all smoke damaged and you made a choice of food over contents insurance.

TwoBrasDontMakeABodice Thu 28-Mar-13 15:06:30

or are possibly just stupid. or lazy. or a combination of all three.

No - they have just made some stupid decisions in their lives. But hey, someone else will pay for those mistakes!

Truly vulnerable people like those with MH issues, disabilities, who have been abused etc should be very well looked after. Those who can't work out how to get to the library - during their no doubt very busy day - to apply for jobs do not need our help. They don't want it. You can try and help a certain type of person but time and time again it will be thrown in your face with a myriad of excuses - and those are the types of people you are defending. NOT those who actually want and need the help.

You could still get your period in the midst of a sudden disaster. And no, not just for sudden disasters...for when you have exhausted every other avenue. You can only have stuff if you can afford to buy it. I say it again, many people are desperately poor.

Sunnywithshowers Thu 28-Mar-13 15:08:19

YANBU at all.

Around 80% of households have access to the internet - link here.

This means around 20% don't have access to the internet.

Schools routinely expect children to do homework on a computer, and research online. In the near future, government expects all benefit applications to be done online.

Libraries are closing everywhere, so even library computers are harder to find than they were. They are often not free to use. As has been mentioned above, it is highly unsafe to use shared computers for highly personal data - such as that required on benefit applications.

Despite assertions above, not everyone has a smartphone. Nor can they necessarily afford an old pc or dongle, or even know where to start in that respect. It's very sodding hard to plan for the future instead of living in the present on benefits, particularly with bills going up (and council tax benefit being withdrawn / reduced) and income staying the same or going down.

EasilyBored Thu 28-Mar-13 15:08:34

Oh my fucking god. TwoBRas I can assure you that a lot of the people I work with have not made stupid decisions. They have had the most hideous of circumstances thrust upon them. But I guess they just need to buck up and get on with things.

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