Fusilier veteran's benefits cut because he sold poppies

This Is Lancashire: Veteran Fusilier Stephen Taylor Veteran Fusilier Stephen Taylor

A FUSILIER veteran has lost his jobseekers allowance — because he volunteered to sell poppies.

Stephen Taylor, aged 60, of Massey Street, Bury, volunteered at Asda in Spring Street where he sold poppies for 24 hours over a two-week period. But when he went to sign on at Bury Jobcentre and told staff about his volunteering, they deemed he was not actively searching for work — and stopped his £71.20-a-week payment.

Mr Taylor was told he had not fulfilled a number of tasks, such as handing out CVs and applying for jobs, which were agreed require-ments in order to receive his benefit.

He has now been without his Jobseeker’s Allowance for four weeks, since early November.

Mr Taylor spent a total of 16 years in the 1st Battalion of the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers and the Territorial Army, from 1972 to 1988.

He has served in Cyprus and Kenya as well as in Northern Ireland in the 1970s, where one of his colleagues was shot and killed.

Since then Mr Taylor has worked in a number of jobs, including managing the British Queen pub in Radcliffe in 2007, and travelling around the country working in pub relief management, but has not been in employment since November last year.

He said: “The allowance is not very much, but when you don’t have much, it means a lot.

“It is all wrong. You volunteer and sell poppies to remember people and friends you have lost.”

Mr Taylor said he has applied for a number of jobs, including at Asda while he was volunteering there, to no avail, and said he has only received a reply from one job application in 12 months.

He said: “I have tried all sorts. There are no jobs going, but I am waiting for a call from one application.

“It is impossible. You can apply for every job that is going, but it is another thing actually getting one because there are that many people applying.”

He has since received financial support from the Bury Armed Forces Covenant group, but has fallen behind with his rent and now has to pay £50 a week instead of £30 a week.

Cllr James Frith, Bury’s Armed Forces Veterans Champion, criticised the way Mr Taylor’s case has been handled.

He said: “I was astonished. Any time I speak with Stephen you can tell that he has searching for work and has served his country throughout his life.

“For me, it is an issue of applying discretion and leniency in dealing with such sensitive issues.

“To treat somebody who has put himself in harm’s way for the people of Bury and his country is unacceptable.”

Mr Taylor lives with his son, 33-year-old Stephen (CORRECT), and also has three daughters.

He added: “Fusiliers always look after each other. I am proud to have served in the armed forces, and I will always be a fusilier.”

A Department for Work and Pensions spokesman said: “It's only right that people should do everything they can to find work in return for their benefits.

“We make it clear to people at the start of their claim what the rules are and that they risk losing their benefits if they don’t play by them.

“Sanctions are only used as a last resort and people who are in genuine need can apply for hardship payments. If someone disagrees with a decision made on their claim, they can appeal.”

Comments (10)

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9:13pm Thu 5 Dec 13

Isiss_S says...

Does anyone know if there's anywhere we can donate to get him through till they sort out this fiasco? Nobody can live off nothing! x
Does anyone know if there's anywhere we can donate to get him through till they sort out this fiasco? Nobody can live off nothing! x Isiss_S

8:27am Fri 6 Dec 13

Yellow Hackle says...

Isiss_S
There is more to this than meets the eye so hang fire a bit, I know it sounds
like this Ex Fusiliers is in dire need but I have asked if he needs my help and,
he said yes ( I am Welfare & Liaison for the Lancashire Fusiliers Website )
then when I sent him a E-mail asking him to clear one or two points up before I went ahead and,committed myself, Nothing, never replied I have sent further e-mails to him with out any response from Mr Taylor.
Isiss_S There is more to this than meets the eye so hang fire a bit, I know it sounds like this Ex Fusiliers is in dire need but I have asked if he needs my help and, he said yes ( I am Welfare & Liaison for the Lancashire Fusiliers Website ) then when I sent him a E-mail asking him to clear one or two points up before I went ahead and,committed myself, Nothing, never replied I have sent further e-mails to him with out any response from Mr Taylor. Yellow Hackle

12:15pm Fri 6 Dec 13

ronecc says...

Whilst we await the outcome of the Fusiliers Welfare Officer's findings, can we look at the comment; ' A Department for Work and Pensions spokesman said: “It's only right that people should do everything they can to find work in return for their benefits.' That's like looking for a lump of coal in an empty bucket.
Aren't they fortunate they have a job. Maybe they should get out of the office and look themselves. God help the country when, in a few years, they are sat behind their desks saying the same thing to 70 year olds, whilst still dishing the benefits out to youngsters and incomers.
Whilst we await the outcome of the Fusiliers Welfare Officer's findings, can we look at the comment; ' A Department for Work and Pensions spokesman said: “It's only right that people should do everything they can to find work in return for their benefits.' That's like looking for a lump of coal in an empty bucket. Aren't they fortunate they have a job. Maybe they should get out of the office and look themselves. God help the country when, in a few years, they are sat behind their desks saying the same thing to 70 year olds, whilst still dishing the benefits out to youngsters and incomers. ronecc

1:59pm Fri 6 Dec 13

Hey_jude says...

Inflammatory headline. The reason his benefit was stopped has nothing to do with volunteering.
Inflammatory headline. The reason his benefit was stopped has nothing to do with volunteering. Hey_jude

5:07pm Fri 6 Dec 13

thickhead says...

The DWP spokesman says sanctions are applied as a *last resort...really? The man appears to have been sanctioned at the *first opportunity. Is there actually a job seeker who hasn't been sanctioned after making a mistake as Stephen did? The DWP are bent on sanctioning as many people as possible...I suppose it reduces the JSA claimants for a short time and goes towards the bonus for the big knobs at the DWP
The DWP spokesman says sanctions are applied as a *last resort...really? The man appears to have been sanctioned at the *first opportunity. Is there actually a job seeker who hasn't been sanctioned after making a mistake as Stephen did? The DWP are bent on sanctioning as many people as possible...I suppose it reduces the JSA claimants for a short time and goes towards the bonus for the big knobs at the DWP thickhead

12:32pm Sat 7 Dec 13

Mr. Marcus says...

It looks like that some faceless jobs worth has strike at the DWP in Bury!
Fire this faceless jobsworth NOW as he/she is useless.
It looks like that some faceless jobs worth has strike at the DWP in Bury! Fire this faceless jobsworth NOW as he/she is useless. Mr. Marcus

8:17pm Sat 7 Dec 13

Babbar Divino says...

Hey_jude wrote:
Inflammatory headline. The reason his benefit was stopped has nothing to do with volunteering.
No doubt there is more to this than meets the eye but would to mind sharing with everyone what the reason was please?
[quote][p][bold]Hey_jude[/bold] wrote: Inflammatory headline. The reason his benefit was stopped has nothing to do with volunteering.[/p][/quote]No doubt there is more to this than meets the eye but would to mind sharing with everyone what the reason was please? Babbar Divino

10:57pm Mon 9 Dec 13

biederbeck says...

If he was a foreigner this would be against his human rights, but it's sad he's not
If he was a foreigner this would be against his human rights, but it's sad he's not biederbeck

11:36am Thu 12 Dec 13

Scarlet O'Hara says...

Yellow Hackle

maybe he was unable to respond to your emails because his internet has been cut off due to lack of funds
Yellow Hackle maybe he was unable to respond to your emails because his internet has been cut off due to lack of funds Scarlet O'Hara

1:13pm Thu 12 Dec 13

me2231 says...

Mr. Marcus wrote:
It looks like that some faceless jobs worth has strike at the DWP in Bury!
Fire this faceless jobsworth NOW as he/she is useless.
The man hadn't looked for work. Surely the name of the benefit gives it away. It's an allowance to seek work. It has nothing to do with his volunteering or his previous 16 years service. It's plain and simple. If he had still been available and actively seeking work he would have got his money.
[quote][p][bold]Mr. Marcus[/bold] wrote: It looks like that some faceless jobs worth has strike at the DWP in Bury! Fire this faceless jobsworth NOW as he/she is useless.[/p][/quote]The man hadn't looked for work. Surely the name of the benefit gives it away. It's an allowance to seek work. It has nothing to do with his volunteering or his previous 16 years service. It's plain and simple. If he had still been available and actively seeking work he would have got his money. me2231

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