Author Topic: Pricey DWP phone lines?  (Read 1688 times)

SunshineMeadows (on Sabbactical)

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Pricey DWP phone lines?
« on: March 16, 2013, 11:00:14 PM »
Someone asked me to find the link and I am posting it now but hope to look into it  more tomorrow.
 >bleep<
http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01r91qr

Quote
Pricey DWP phone lines, shock council tax bills for empty homes and ISA investing tips
Duration: 30 minutes
First broadcast:Saturday 16 March 2013Money Box has learned that people enquiring about two new benefits - universal credit and the disability benefit personal independence payment - will have to pay premium rates for their phone calls. A letter from the Secretary of State Iain Duncan Smith says the department will not be using the new 03 range of numbers and that enquiries and some claims will have to go through 0845 numbers which can cost as much as 40p a minute. The letter was sent to John Healy MP who has campaigned for all DWP numbers to be free. Anne Begg MP, chair of the Commons Work and Pensions Select Committee and David Hickson, of Fair Telecoms.org.uk, join the programme.

Sunny Clouds

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Re: Pricey DWP phone lines?
« Reply #1 on: March 17, 2013, 12:32:39 AM »
Why would IDS care?  He gets his phone calls on expenses, doesn't he?

Besides, if challenged, he'd probably say people shouldn't call on expensive mobiles, they should call on landlines, which are cheaper.  I don't suppose he understands that when you're in financial straits you likely can't afford both and may feel that a mobile is the better option to keep because it can go with you to call for help when you're sick/disabled and can help you to be available all the time for job offers if you're a jobseeker.

I've just done some basic maths, though.  How long does an ESA/UC claim take?  20 min? 40 min?  So 8-16 to put in your claim, plus more to chase things up.

And he wants people to do jobhunting online, but he's not providing lots of terminals in jobcentres.  That means smartphones or broadband.

Please let me rant, pretty please?  You don't have to read it, honest.

He was on benefits for a short while, years ago.  But let's look at some maths.  The amount of UB in Thatcher's time, if uprated in line with inflation, would be worth 100+/week.  I claimed for a while in the 80s and remember even getting an allowance for laundry costs as well because I didn't have a large sink or bath suitable for washing sheets in.  We forget about these things.

So he remembers benefits when they were more generous and he was only on them for a short while so he didn't have time to need to replace things and my guess is that he wasn't in debt to begin with.

I read figures two years ago that you're probably all sick of me repeating.  I doubt they've improved...

50% of people have savings less than 2000.
36% of people have savings less than 500.
20% of people have no savings at all.

I wonder what part of no savings at all he can't grasp.  Ah, no, forgot, he's got wealthy relatives and friends he can turn to.

And before anyone says I'm sour, I'm a survivor so whilst I've been through some rough times financially, I've got through them ok, but many people can't cope.  Many people aren't even good for the credit on their phone to make these bloody calls. 

It makes me so angry.  I'm ok.  I get full sickness and disability benefits and I don't spend it all, so I've got some rainy day money.  But so many people haven't.  There is so much poverty, so much misery, so much difficulty that people face.

So you've lost your job.  You were paid weekly.  You're going to get your UC monthly.  There's no social fund any more to give you hardship payments.  And you have to spend stupid amounts of money on calls just to get the money you need to live on.

I don't know how he's got the gall to go to mass and take communion.  He's like the Pharisees Jesus had no time for.  And while the papers are going on their rampage against people who aren't Christian, or at least nominally Christian when they want to have a rant about their right to wear crosses, where I live, you can get free hot food in the Gurduwara three times a day, there's a Buddhist bloke hands out free curry once a week, the local Hari Krishnas do a popular free curry, the local mosques let people sleep on the floor and the people who give to the Trussell trust and other foodbanks come from all religions and none.  Who's my neighbour?  Not IDS.   

My favourite hymn is...

When I needed a neighbour, were you there, were you there?
When I needed a neighbour, were you there?
And the creed and the colour and the name don't matter, were you there?

[Declaration of interest - I'm a lapsed Catholic who nevertheless takes Jesus' teachings seriously and who has no time for people who profess to follow Jesus but don't remember what he said about the poor and needy.]
(I'm an obsessive problem-solver, so feel free to ignore any suggestions or solutions I offer, even if they sound terribly insistent.)

Mabelcat

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Re: Pricey DWP phone lines?
« Reply #2 on: March 17, 2013, 12:42:04 AM »
Good rant!

JLRRAC

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Re: Pricey DWP phone lines?
« Reply #3 on: March 17, 2013, 01:51:32 AM »
A couple of things, first, I remember reading a newspaper story about Russian soldiers who after the Catholic religeon was allowed again in Russia burst into a chapple in the midst of a service and pointing their guns at the folk gathered there demanded those who believed in God and Jesus remain in the chapple the rest to get out.

Some including the Priest remained others left. This done one soldier closed the chapple doors and then asked that the Priest continue with the service, explaining that both he and his fellow soldiers wanted only to pray with those who really believed on God and Jesus.

Second, in relation to these phone call charges to the DWP, as I've mentioned I have my BT landline package which allows me to use 0845 no's without extra charging but that aside why should anyone be forced to pay to access the DWP, for one thing I'm sure I heard the grass line is free for those wanting to report an alleged benefit fraudster. The monies folk get on benefit are pared down to the bone as best the DWP can do this so it might be worth asking my MP to find out for me/us just what the porportion of our welfare benefits are intended to fund this compulsory use of phones to access the DWP.

ATurtle

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Re: Pricey DWP phone lines?
« Reply #4 on: March 17, 2013, 08:26:44 PM »
First off, if they do stick in an 0845 number, I wonder how long it will be before the geographical (free on most telephone plans) will appear on Say No to 0870

For myself, until they do, I'll phone the Benefits Enquiry Line (0800 882200) and ask them if they can put me through!
Tony.

"I choose not to place "DIS", in my ability." - Robert M. Hensel

auntieCtheM

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Re: Pricey DWP phone lines?
« Reply #5 on: March 17, 2013, 08:59:03 PM »
Thank you for that phone number Turtle.

seegee

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Re: Pricey DWP phone lines?
« Reply #6 on: March 19, 2013, 05:29:16 PM »
Thanks Mr Turtle - copied that + a few landline numbers from http://www.saynoto0870.com/ to pass on. :-)

KizzyKazaer

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Re: Pricey DWP phone lines?
« Reply #7 on: March 19, 2013, 05:57:45 PM »
I'll phone the Benefits Enquiry Line (0800 882200) and ask them if they can put me through!

Have you actually tried doing this yet?  I like the idea but I don't think they're on the same DWP switchboard...

Sunny, excellent post - especially the point about only having to live on benefits short term.  I recall the silliness of an MP in the 1980s living on Supplementary Benefit (which Income Support replaced) for a week.  I mean, a week for the love of all things holy - it's the long haul which drives people down if they're on the lowest rates of benefits, like basic JSA for a single person.  When they have to replace shoes and clothing and basic household equipment when it wears out.  Of course, not many MPs have faced that reality  >whistle<

Danslatete

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Re: Pricey DWP phone lines?
« Reply #8 on: March 19, 2013, 07:09:35 PM »
My family had benefit in the 80's. I dont remember being treated as an outcast then tho.
I remember doing the school shopping on disabled shopping night in the town and going to the co-op and getting kitted out for the following year. The vouchers were for 2 skirts/trousers 2 jumpers 3 vests 3 shirts 4 pairs of socks 4 pairs pants a coat and a pair of shoes. Mum used to buy the gym shoes and any extra socks. There were loads of us doing that, we didnt know any different.
I can just imagine how hard it would have been to try and organise this for three children and the school meals and the DLA for my brother over the phone box. We would have gone without. which is what is going to happen. If people dont have the cash to contact them in first instance then there will be less claimants. No-one should have a mobile as it is such a luxuary-not. Land lines cost a fortune to get installed and then a quarterly bill which can be difficult to budget for..where do they think the cash will come from? Mobile dongles are no good in the middle of rural ville so you need the landline for phone and broadband then the cost of a computer, or the alternative is pay a fortune for transport to the library, unless its closed, or job centre (more than 25 mile round trip) to fill in forms on line. fingers crossed you get it right firsttime or it will cost again to go put things right. This is just dandy if you are not in poverty, know your way around the benefits system, and you can manage to sort your own affairs over the phone.
For the feeble poor and vunerable it will hit hard, AGAIN.

Sunny Clouds

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Re: Pricey DWP phone lines?
« Reply #9 on: March 20, 2013, 01:16:14 AM »
Oh, honestly, can't get a decent connection without paying a fortune?  IDS knows that's rubbish, he gets excellent phone connections in Westminster.  Oh, you can't afford to live there on benefits?  Well, surely everyone is fully connected these days, and it doesn't cost that much.  Oh, you can't get the bargain deal unless you sign up for 18 months.  Well go to the job centre then.  Oh, you can't afford the bus fare there either because that's a few quid you don't have as well.

Honestly, these bennies.  Anyone would think they wanted a life of luxury with stuff like food, shelter, heat and social inclusion etc!
(I'm an obsessive problem-solver, so feel free to ignore any suggestions or solutions I offer, even if they sound terribly insistent.)

Danslatete

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Re: Pricey DWP phone lines?
« Reply #10 on: March 20, 2013, 09:04:44 PM »
Bus fare would be great, but rural ville does not have a bus service due to the cuts imposed over the last year or so. 8 miles to get a bus to nearest jobshop.
Our soooooper fast broadband will not allow i player etc as it struggles to reach 1.8 mbps oh yeah, why would us sick and some olds live in rural ville? only place there is affordable housing. Or they lived her since year dot.
I forgot that every bennie is just in it for the 50 in tv -plasma of course and jezza on demand. Not forgetting the booze an fags an bingo.
Must shout about no signal for mobiles nor dongles.... he probably roll up with a mast to improve the signal..
The man has no idea

JLRRAC

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Re: Pricey DWP phone lines?
« Reply #11 on: March 20, 2013, 09:36:00 PM »
"For the feeble poor and vunerable it will hit hard, AGAIN."

Just as planned.