Jimmy Stirling’s DWP Diary: We’re going to war? Is the country suddenly out of austerity?


61-year-old Jimmy Stirling remains in limbo over a possible benefits sanction as David Cameron conjures up money amid austerity to take the UK to war

I AM Jimmy Stirling, a 61-year-old unemployed graphic designer, photographer and musician, single grandfather and social housing tenant living in Glasgow.

I receive Jobseeker’s Allowance of PS50 per week and have a very small pension payment of just under PS25 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.


6 December 2015

My day to day life has been quiet in comparison to what happened in Westminster concerning Syria, the aftermath of Storm Desmond and the closing of the Forth Road Bridge.

People are living in turmoil and my battle goes on but has been somewhat sidelined in the reality of recent decisions and phenomena.

Is the country suddenly out of austerity now that we can afford to send planes and bombs abroad? I don’t think so.

Anyway, no decision yet from the DWP regarding my possible sanction. So, as instructed, I have been applying for a range of jobs – again, most of them outwith my capabilities, but sent to me by the DWP: fishery officer, trainee sales estimator, kitchen staff, butcher, driver, site administrator, tandoori chef, delivery driver, land review officer, fish counter assistant, champagne bar Assistant, two cleaner jobs, sales assistant for a ladies’ clothing shop, general technical assistant and a sandwich maker.

I have had no replies at all from any of the jobs I applied for via the DWP suggestions, but that is common nowadays where if you don’t hear anything then you have been unsuccessful.

Occasionally I will get a reply from a recruitment agency with the standard letter about other candidates more suited to a position. At least, they have taken the time to acknowledge that they have received my application.

I have my regular visit to sign on this Wednesday when I hope to finally meet my new work coach.

Picture courtesy of Andrew_Writer