Open letter to Mr Cameron and Mr Clegg(80 Posts)
(This is being posted tomorrow, do you think I'll hear a reply? )
Dear Mr Cameron and Mr Clegg,
I am writing to ask your advice. After being made redundant from two jobs in a row and finding low pay, low security temp work I found myself hit by a third stroke of bad luck.
I woke up one morning to extreme pain and the inability to move my spine. I tried to continue working while receiving treatment and undergoing tests, but due to my need for days off I was let go from temp work. This was in March 2009, I was 24 years old.
At this time I was living with my husband who has long term mental health problems on top of learning difficulties and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (you may know it as ME), we'd planned all along for me to be earning and supporting him. Of course, when my back went wrong we found we were entirely reliant on Income Support, Incapacity Benefit and Housing Benefit.
In the time since then my health has not improved and I have been informed that, most likely, I will never regain full mobility. So I am now entirely at the mercy of the benefits system.
In an ideal world I would be snapped up for jobs, but due to the fluctuating nature of my disability I am not a reliable worker and need a lot of allowances made for me. In the current climate, out of the many unemployed applying for jobs, I am not a desirable employee.
So in the meantime I find myself with no control over my finances, relying on a country which I love and have previously paid into, to look after me while I am so vulnerable.
Currently my husband and I have to rent privately due to a lack of social housing. But our tenancy is due to end in February when our landlord intends to sell up. We are in a state of panic, looking around at the private rents available they are either priced beyond our means or unwilling to accept Housing Benefit tenants. Those that do, need us to provide a guarantor, which is difficult for us as my father is self employed (and struggling), my mother is unemployed, and my mother in law is retired. So many letting agents will not consider them for guarantors. So will only take us on if we can pay at least 6 months rent up front, which I'm sure you can appreciate isn't an option on our current income.
On top of this we hear that housing benefit will be reduced to match 30% of the rental market value, rather than the current 50%. Seeing as we are struggling now, we feel our chance of finding anywhere once it is reduced further is next to impossible. We are also aware that housing benefit will be reduced further for those on jobseeker's allowance after a set amount of time, although this wont affect us directly, it will mean landlords will be even less keen on taking on housing benefit tenants in case the tenants end up unable to pay the full rent. Which means they are less likely to take a chance on us.
You may think that if we cannot find anywhere to live by February then we can be helped by Social Housing, but we have been told that we will be considered voluntarily homeless (ie. much less likely to receive help) unless we match strict criteria. This criteria is; we must refuse to leave at the end of our tenancy, be taken to court and then removed by bailiffs. Unless we go through all of this we will be seen as having chosen to become homeless. As we will have no right to stay in the property beyond our contract we will lose the court case, and be forced to pay both our own and the landlord's court fees. Which I can't help feeling is an expensive and unnecessary way of putting off the inevitable. It is also hugely detrimental to our mental health.
Even if we do go through all of this, we know right now that many, many people are in our situation, and that with so many losing their jobs the waiting list for housing is astronomical, so there is no guarantee of a home at the end of it all anyway. It saddens us even more to know that so few new buildings will be available in the coming years.
Every day now is a day closer to us losing the roof over our heads, and we are scared. We feel forgotten, powerless and vulnerable.
So I am writing to ask, do you have anywhere for us to live?
I really, really hate this government. There is a need for cuts, but not like this. It's just shitting on people when they're down because they're the ones who can't fight back.
Send it and sorry for you.
I hate the conservatives with a vengance, just had to console a tearful 16 yr old who has been told £30 a week is being taken off her in December, and she is thinking of jacking in school as she realises that her dream of going to university because of doubling or tripling fees, isn't for people like her.
All this shit thrown at people in a few weeks. I'm in tears too.
Also we are all in limbo land, they cannot even put their cards on the table and deliver answers as to when and what they are threatening to do.
It's easy to hate tories. I have done this for many a year. The sight of shiney-faced bastards who have nooo idea about struggle 'leading this country' makes me retch.
They are doing nothing short of redesigning Britain and have been waiting to do this for years. The LibDems are shameless.
We will be Portugal. Without the sun. If you can pay, you can have it. If you can't ( and we'll make sure you can't) you will NOT get it, or have an utterly shit 'public' version.
I read your letter and I hope this helps.
1) If your husband has long term mental health problems and ME and this has been recorded by your GP or other health professional, he must be helped under the housing act. He is considered vulnerable, and those who are vulnerable are given priority.
2) If you have been diagnosed with a long term spinal problem by your GP and are having tests, then you too are considered vulnerable if your are considered to have a disability.
3) Get a social worker involved, who can fight your corner with the local council via housing for you and your husband.
David Cameron only directly answers letters from his own constituents. Do you know any one in West Oxfordshire? who could post letter from their address, from them concerning you? If you do your in. As he also has surgeries (for his constituents). I don't blame the govt a the situation you describe was the same, before they came to power and they have to make cuts. A freind of mine was told the same by housing, it did not go to court and she was housed. It will be a long road, but in the end I'm sure you'll be offered more secure accomodation in council housing. Good luck.
mycounty I don't know anyone there, are there any lovely MNetters that could help me?
Definitely sending it, DH woke up with night terrors this morning (screaming and running towards the stairs ), I feel this is going to be a more regular occurrence the closer we get to February.
Oh we can't get DLA, not disabled enough apparently.
I hope they do take into account my GP's views, he's been a real star for helping us. Unfortunately, when being reassessed for ESA they weren't interested in it.
Definitely send the letter. It's a great letter. And a truly awful situation.
I hate our government and I hate these cuts. The voices of people like you who will be left high and dry by their welfare reforms need to be heard. There needs to be more in the media about how these cuts will affect real people like you.
Have you thought of sending it to your local paper and maybe national papers too?
My heart goes out to you.
I don't know RamblingRosa, it'd get more attention that way. However I don't want press attention, we already get abuse in the street from people who think we are claiming fraudulently. Plus we have, shock horror, techie stuff from pre benefits, which people will be totally unable to accept as not having been bought with our benefits.
That just makes me so sad and angry that you get abuse in the street.
I wish I had some more helpful suggestions but it really does seem very bleak right now.
Do you have children? Do you have family nearby who can help?
Maimandkilloki. As said this govt is not uncaring. I myself have met David Cameron and he will help if he can.
As stated the situation you find yourself in was the same to my knowledge for the last 10 years as regard to housing, they have been tightening the criteria (i.e. making it more difficult to get housing stock.) due to lack of housing stock, all over the country.
Maimandkilloki. You can post the letter but he himself will not read it, and IMO it will be put in a place called 'bin'. In your case your local MP would be expected to look at the letter, but if he/she does not have any clout, it seems pointless,but still send it.
If I was you and you seem desparate, I would take myself up/down to Witney/Bampton/Aston anywhere he holds surgeries. Speak to someone in the area, (at local pub etc, and see if you can get them to help you) if they can get an audience with 'David' as he like to be called, (ridiculous I know!) Then you might have a better fighting chance.
David Cameron is not uncaring far from it. Try any avenue that is open to you, to get your message to him.
This govt did not make the housing rules in the last ten years. If someone is not truly disabled it will make it much more difficult for them to claim benfits, DLA etc and that is right.
Remember you will not 'gather honey, by trying to kick over the beehive!' and Cameron's your beehive! Can't comment on Clegg never met him.
Alternatively; Send it to his PA her name is Caroline, she would only respond to constituents letters, but at least she is very close to Cameron and sees him regularly! (Might pass on your desperate letter to him). Don't say you got info for her of internet or you are buggered! Can't remember her surname, but can get it if you want (checks mobile to see David Cameron's PA number)no surname.
Don't give up, you will get there in the long run, and above all else remain positive.
All the goodwill of other MNs will get you through!
The problem is that the deficit is so large that we really don't have any choice but to make severe cuts in public spending. The debt interest payments currently stand at £43 billion a year and are set to rise to £63 billion and thats taking into account the coalitions deficit reduction plans set out on Wednesday. The deficit must be eradicated.
Send the letter, to Cameron and Clegg and to your own MP. Is he a Tory, your MP?
That is not really very helpful to the OP, is it? Political views aside, Killoki is facing homelessness and is desperate to find a way of keeping a roof over her head.
Mycounty, feel rather baffled by your post. On the one hand, DC 'will help if he can'; otoh, 'he will not read the letter and IMO it will be put in a place called bin'.
How caring is that, hey? He is supposed to be accountable and you are suggesting that a letter from someone in dire straits will end up being binned. So the role of his close staff is to protect him from seeing the effect of his policies on the electorate. Utterly utterly out of touch with reality.
MaimAndKilloki I read your post and also think you must send it.
Dont know if I can be of any help. But I live in West Oxfordshire. In fact in Witney. If you want me to do anything send me a message.
They have people reading MN and the like.
This will have been registered.
There will be more to come, I'm sure!
Very sorry for your situation.
Cinnamontoast David Cameron before becoming PM had over 13 thousand letters in one year sent to him.
It is naive to say that the man can read all letters sent to him, that are not from his constituents.
I was pointing out the best way forward.
Already Evalongoria (bless her) from Witney (where he holds surgeries) is willing to help her.
If you can do a lot better than my advice, which has already resulted in someone from his constituency offering help, please do.
I hope others are not put off from offering
advice, by negative comments from you.
Thankyou you Evalongoria.
Even if not 'binned' if you can't see him as above , he will refer you to another department. You don't want that. Go to the top. He will listen, he is a caring man, unlike Tony Blair.
Cinnamontoast. There are plenty in dire straits in this country do you think Cameron is going to read all of their letters? Please.
byrel I'm not sure what your point is exactly?
The letter has been posted, Eva I'll PM you, thank you so much!
We've also sent it to our local MP (Tory)
mycounty there are indeed plenty in dire straits and there are about to be a whole lot more (thanks to your "caring" mate Cameron).
On the one hand you're saying "there are plenty in dire straits...do you think Cameron is going to read all of their letters?". On the other hand you're encouraging OP to write to him because he's such a caring PM and will feel compelled to help her.
I don't get it.
I think the OP should write to the government because she's written a bloody good letter which outlines how she (and millions of others) have just been shafted by the government. I don't think for a minute that Cameron is going to read it and, out of the goodness of his caring heart, and decide to revise his welfare reform strategy as he's suddenly realised it's unfair.
Well don'e MainAndKilloki. I hope you get a response. And more importantly, I really hope you manage to keep a roof over your heads. Good luck.
I honestly don't expect anything from him, I'm not that naive. However I have exhausted all other options.
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