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Update on stuff

Since the day i made my desperate call to my MP's office i have been struggling to give my saga a name. I feel it should end in 'gate', but the catalogue of crap is so diffuse i cant seem to pick one unique or significant theme to actually gate. For the sake of clarity, i'm going to pick the second most versatile word i know (the first being unspeakable in such polite surroundings)...shite. So, here is a quick update on Shite-gate.

I just cant stop myself from putting cat pictures on
my serious posts
Letters have gone out to DWP, Student Loans Company and my University VC. I've had nothing back from the first two, unsurprisingly. I can only conclude that they don't have an automatic proforma letter to print off to respond to my particular circumstances. Someone is bound to eventually realise this, I direct you to the pending works of Shakespeare and an infinite number of type writers and monkeys. When it is finally realised they will have to find someone with two braincells to rub together. Immediately rule out every civil servant in both departments. My only hope is that it will cross the desk of some graduate who has the displeasure of temping alongside those morons.

As for the response i got from the University Vice-Chancellor, Professor Dominic Shellard...i didn't actually get a response. He decided to immediately pass my details on to the Money and Welfare department...the very department that has continued to underwhelm me at every turn. When i spoke to the money and welfare bod she offered to help me fill in an application form for the access to learning fund that doesn't open until October. She was confused when i explained that my problem was that i cant afford to eat now, not in October.

What frustrates me is the presumption of ignorance. Does Mr Shellard honestly think that i would go to the trouble of asking my MP to write to him had i not already gone through all other channels? I was in such a desperate situation because the Money and Welfare department was unable to help me. So i am left with two conclusions. Either the letter from Jon was poorly written and didn't explain my circumstances in any detail, or my Vice Chancellor is a moron. I am learning towards the latter.

What is worrying is the level of attention Mr Shellard has apparently given to a Member of Parliament. He didn't contact me, he didn't make sure Money and Welfare understood and as far as i can tell he isn't monitoring the outcome. If this is the level of attention given to a problem passed to him by an MP, what level of attention is he going to give to anything else?

Money and Welfare have insisted on taking me though a budgeting process. I have remained polite, more out of exacerbation...but if you know my circumstances you can appreciate why i just want to tell her to fuck off.

I live in hope that i will get some money from the student loan company in just under a months time. This does depend on them deciding not to recover last years money...i don't hold out much hope.

If i continue to eat bread and cereal for the next month i should manage to survive until the first student finance payment...if that payment doesn't come along, i will defiantly have to quit university.

Something is very wrong with our system of benefits. If you find yourself in immediate and short term financial shit expect absolutely no help from the government. They will only offer support to people who can afford to support themselves for the months it takes to arrange the benefit. If you can somehow manage to support yourself that long, you will only get help if your crisis is long term. The system is designed to keep people on benefits?!?!

I have a meeting with Jon Ashworth on Friday afternoon, the first since all this started. I am looking forward to it as i think Jon is, despite his staff, unusually down to earth. I will let you know how it goes.

This post is part of a series
  1. Now i've lost confidence in my MP, who else can i trust? (19th August 2011)
  2. MP's staff, constitutional status (19th August 2011)
  3. Progress made...convo with Jon Ashworth (21st August 2011)
  4. MP's Staff...part 2 (24th August 2011)
  5. Update on Stuff (8th September 2011)
  6. Letter of apology from Gavin George, Constituency Director for Jon Ashworth MP (20th September 2011)
  7. Phone call with Jon (21st September 2011)