This man had his benefits stopped – so he decided to rob a South Wales bank

In the last few months Ive heard people saying they’d rather be in prison, at least they get food and shelter there. First time I have a concrete example of it happening, though. This is from the south Wales Evening Post:


A 62-year-old man has been jailed for robbing a bank in Cardiff after having his benefits stopped. Phillip Rees, of Pontcanna, Cardiff, claimed he was “too old to work” after his government handouts were taken away.

A court heard how Rees didn’t use a disguise or a weapon when he raided the Lloyds branch on Cowbridge Road in Canton.

He handed the cashier a note saying: “This is a robbery, don’t alert anyone, pass all the money from the till and don’t tell anyone until I’ve left.” Cardiff Crown Court heard how his face could clearly be seen on CCTV footage as he strolled out of the bank with £3,000.

Rees used his stolen money to travel to Barry Island, Newcastle, Whitley Bay, Carlisle and York before handing himself over to police.

Prosecutor Mike Hammett said: “His benefits had been stopped when his own doctor declared him fit to work but he didn’t agree because he felt he was too old. He told the police he just “lost patience with the whole shebang” and decided to rob a bank to finance “a little trip” instead. He had intended to rob another bank to continue his travels but decided he’d had enough of being on the run.”

Rees left a woman cashier terrified when he walked into the branch and handed over his demands in March this year.


Food Bank Demand Driven By Cuts And Sanctions To Benefits, New Report Finds

More than half of people driven by acute poverty to apply for emergency food aid are there because of delays, sudden cuts or sanctions imposed on welfare payments, according to new research

The Trussell Trust’s findings are a direct challenge to the coalition government’s insistence that the meteoric rise in the numbers of food bank users is unconnected to the cuts to the social security system, and is only linked to the growth in provision.

The charity, which runs the country’s largest network of food banks, analysed more than 900 different users at a range of facilities across the country, as well as conducting 40 more in-depth interviews and 178 different caseloads from people accessing one of their advice services.

Up to two-thirds of those analysed by the study, which was commissioned by the charity along with the Church of England, Oxfam and the Child Poverty Action Group, said they were waiting for their benefits which had been delayed, because they had been sanctioned by jobcentres or because they had been suddenly hit by the so-called bedroom tax.

“The promise of a social security safety net that is there to protect people at times of crisis is something that can, and must be, preserved and protected. Food banks, whilst providing a vital and welcoming lifeline to many, should not become a readily accepted part of that formal provision,“ the study says.

The Trust has handed out food parcels to at least 913,000 people from 2013-2014, a threefold increase. The Trust says those figures are a low estimate for the numbers suffering from acute personal finance crisis, many more are likely to be relying on help from friends or neighbours.


Read the rest of this Huffington Post article here:

Tory blocks food bank because ‘he can’t get a restaurant on a Saturday’

A Tory councillor has cited full restaurants as evidence that his borough doesn’t need another food bank

With Conservatives in Crawley ignoring the findings of the council’s Deprivation Scrutiny Panel — which suggested a food bank be set up at the town hall – Cllr Liam Marshall-Ascough said:

“People aren’t in poverty in terms of going without food. You try booking a restaurant in Crawley on a Friday or Saturday night. You can’t do it.”

It sounds like Cllr Marshall-Ascough would get on with government minister Lord ‘charities are to blame for food banks’ Freud.

From Politicalscrapbook, 26th March 2014:

Those vile people sitting in the jobcentre a few feet away doing absolutely nothing.

From the facebook page ‘The People vs the Government, DWP and Atos”

“I’ve just seen this outside Devizes Job Centre:
A man standing crying and and so distressed he wet himself. He was saying ” they won’t help me! They won’t let me have any money! They say I’ve used all my foodbank vouchers”.
He proceeded to collapse to the ground and curl up in a ball, his arms around his dog. Two passers by were supporting him. One went to buy him some food & the other had gone to get him a blanket. Several people averted their eyes and hurried past!
I couldn’t do any more than was already being done for him, though I would have liked to help. I cried my eyes out for him and cried in anger at the vile, despicable people who are sitting in the Job Centre a few feet away doing absolutely nothing!!!
I cannot believe what is happening in this country.
This system is totally horrendous, obnoxious and despicable!”

Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith accused of foodbank ‘cover-up’

The Tory Work and ­Pensions Secretary dropped a rule requiring Jobcentres to record why people need emergency meals

Iain Duncan Smith is ­trying to hide how benefit delays and cuts are forcing more families to use ­foodbanks, an MP claims.

The Tory Work and ­Pensions Secretary dropped a rule requiring Jobcentres to record why people need emergency meals.

Labour’s Dave Watts ­accused Mr Duncan Smith of trying to hide the fact that his department often fails to process benefit claims in the 16-day limit.

Mr Watts said: “They’ve done this to hide the fact that the DWP is not ­processing claims quickly enough and is leaving ­people in abject poverty.”

The DWP said the rule was axed as councils now have more responsibility ­for giving ­emergency help.