Book now for the 27th of May *ONLINE* Money Advice Group Meeting!

Given the nature of this crisis, the MAG planning group has considered what to do about future meetings of the group. The health and safety of group members, and of those who host MAG meetings, is of paramount importance, and this is why they have decided to move to an online format for the foreseeable future.

They have also decided to bring the date of the meeting forward, and it is likely that meetings will be more frequent given that it is now, arguably, easier and convenient for members to take part, and also because of the urgency of the situation advisers and clients face.

We are therefore pleased to provide details of the next Greater Manchester Money Advice Group, which will take place on Wednesday the 27th of May 2020.

The meeting will be facilitated by Payplan, who have offered use of their video conferencing system ‘Fuze’. They will email participants joining instructions in due course, but please note, you do not have to use the video facility to take part if you do not wish to: you can spectate and use audio/chat facilities to communicate if you prefer. There is a limit of 1,000 participants using this system, so they are not bound by the usual capacity constraints!

The theme of the meeting is, of course, ‘Covid-19 and Debt Advice’.

In the morning, we will be joined by Alistair Chisholm (Payplan), with a ‘sector’ update – what’s going on with creditors, clients and households?

Next up will be Bob Winnington (MALG): ‘Managing the present and preparing for the future’ on the work MALG has carried out with partners in the credit and advice industry during the current crisis

Our last speaker will be Joseph Surtees (Cabinet Office), with an update on the government response to Covid-19.

Recognising that long video conferences are not easy to attend, after the speakers, there will be a suitably long break for 2 hours, before reconvening for the afternoon session.

The afternoon session will be an opportunity to discuss the morning speakers, plus a chance to exchange information and discuss Covid-19 and the debt crisis.

You can join/leave the video conference at any point, but MAG hope you will appreciate the opportunity to network and share your experiences of the situation we find ourselves in and what the future holds for our clients and ourselves

Your early contributions for the info exchange/social policy session are invited if you either cannot attend and want feedback and/or wish the issues to be raised on your behalf. Please also send any observations you wish the meeting to discuss about matters arising from the most recent Shelter update, the Citizens Advice update and anything in the IMA’s Quarterly Account.

The MAG are grateful to Payplan for offering the use of their video conference system for this meeting. They feel that this was the best offer open to the group, which minimises cost, has no realistic constraints on the size of the meeting, and is safe and secure.

You can book a place for this meeting using this link https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/greater-manchester-money-advice-group-covid-19-debt-advice-tickets-103709778740 or you can let Richard Holland know directly. The agenda will be updated at this link, as necessary.

It goes without saying that lunch will not be provided at this meeting!

Racism & the Covid 19 Crisis – Gtr Manchester – Zoom meeting

Apologies for the late notice but seeing as you don’t have to travel to take part…

There will be a “Racism & The Covid-19 Crisis” Zoom event hosted by Stand Up To Racism Manchester and Stand Up To Racism this evening, Monday the 27th of April 2020, between 18:00 and 19:30pm. 

https://www.facebook.com/events/s/greater-manchester-racism-the-/1179404669075402/

Anna Rothery, Liverpool Lord MayorRabnawaz Akbar, Manchester Cllr – Mansoor Hassan, Barack Food Aid – Claire Moseley, Car4Calais, Anandi Ramamurthy, UCU, plus contributions to discuss ‘Racism & the Covid-19 Crisis’

Nahella Ashraf will be hosting this Greater Manchester Stand Up To Racism Zoom Call. Join the Zoom Meeting.

‘We are 13% of the population. But of those who have died we make up 100% of the doctors and 65% of all health workers’.

Statement from Diane Abbott, President Stand Up To Racism

Recent figures show African, Asian and Caribbean people make up one third of Covid-19 patients in intensive care, two thirds of NHS staff who have died, all the doctors who have died after contracting Covid-19 and double the average of households who have lost jobs and/or income. This comes as reports are emerging that African, Caribbean and Asian nursing staff are feeling targeted to work on Covid-19 wards over and above their white counterparts.

As we mark Workers’ Memorial Day, this meeting will focus on how anti-racists respond to this, including supporting the crucial demands for PPE and testing for front line workers, as well as raising specific concerns over the impact on BAME and migrant communities.

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/83111556383? pwd=V3JpZEFzOFZnM2U1a3JFbkRvNUo3dz09

Meeting ID: 831 1155 6383
Password: 897915

New video from Housing Systems.

GMWRAG would like to draw your attention to yet another excellent video from our friends at Housing Systems. This time it’s all about looking at Universal Credit Monthly Assessment Periods in detail. At best this might be described as a somewhat dry subject. Whilst this video contains no exciting new concepts like “UC as a smoothie” we can say we were utterly mesmerised by the big yellow jumper/sweater which keeps appearing and the use of a pen which makes words and entire sentences appear some time after the pen has finished writing. We want one of those. Anyways, in the meantime you can watch the video at

A further chance to watch our GMSCG live stream of Kester Dean talking EA 10 damages from the county court.

Kester Dean from @kesterrights at the March 2018 GMSCG meeting.GMWRAG has been busy/otherwise engaged/pigging out on Easter eggs but now we’re back and you can expect lots of activity over the next few days leading up to our meeting next week in Bolton.

So, first of all a bit of housekeeping. Whilst the live stream of Lucy Cadd has long since been removed an edited version of the live stream of Kester Dean taking about the option of pursuing damages for EA 10 breaches in the county court remains available on YouTube. You can watch the full 30 minutes at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=299mr1DlgQ8.

Please note that we haven’t forgotten there’s a GMWRAG meeting next week and we’ll publishing an agenda either at the end of this week or the start of the next. Minutes of the Salford meeting remain available in the usual place.

A further chance to watch our live stream of Lucy Cadd from Leigh Day talking about current public law challenges and the Carmichael judgement.

Lucy Cadd from Leigh Day at the March 2018 GMSCG.Following on from our very recent posts reminding people of our live streams, at https://gmwrag.wordpress.com/2018/03/28/final-chance-for-gmwrag-members-live-streams-from-the-march-meeting-of-the-greater-manchester-strategic-casework-group-are-still-available/ we’ve decided to make this remarkably simple for those of you who don’t know your YouTube from your Periscope; a submarine from an app; a tablet from a stone; arse from elbow!

Before we take down the broadcast of Lucy Cadd from Leigh Day talking current public law concerns and the Carmichael judgement click on the link below and you’ll be taken straight to the video in question. Just click play. Well, it’s also good to remember to turn the volume up too!

You do know that the little triangular thing means “Play” don’t you?

https://www.pscp.tv/w/bYvJhDFtTUVQTWJrZXZOUUd8MW5BS0VSYmdBQmdHTAZrCaJ4EyXF5xBxPhGSK_2C-s1bQfBXv8fE9JIQ1BFT

Please allow us to apologise in advance for the relatively poor quality of the recording. It appears to be as a direct consequence of our failing on this occasion to tick the box marked “HD”. Lesson learned.

Final chance for GMWRAG members – live streams from the March meeting of the Greater Manchester Strategic Casework Group are still available.

Lucy Cadd from Leigh Day at the March 2018 GMSCG.GMWRAG has been in forgetful mode once again.

Those of you who attended the latest meeting of the Greater Manchester Strategic Casework Group at Garden Court North last week will be well aware that GMWRAG live-streamed two elements of the event via Periscope. For those of you ill-equipped for the middle of the 21st century this means we “broadcast”. Worse still we did it from an iPad!

This was done at relatively short notice so the live event largely passed the world of t’internet by at the time. Subsequently the videos of both speakers have been seen respectively by 114 and 69 viewers, which compares very favourably with the final viewing figure of 128 for our live stream of Matt Ahluwalia of the Public Law Project from the Salford GMWRAG meeting. The difference between the two events being that we completely forgot to do any publicity about our latest live streams subsequent to the event itself. So, here it is…

Above you can see a screen shot from our live stream of Lucy Cadd from Leigh Day who kindly agreed to give us a complete update on the public law priorities of Leigh Day. Lucy speaks for approximately 30 minutes with a couple of contributions from the foot and sonorous voice off screen of Tom Royston. The live stream will be available via Periscope until Good Friday when it will be taken down as agreed with Lucy. You can follow Lucy on Twitter via @Lucycadd.

Below you can see Kester Dean of @KesterRights, which is also his Twitter handle (or account name for you oldies/techilliterates), also in action (fairly literally) at the same meeting. Kester speaks for approximately 25 minutes on the use of the Equality Act 2010 against the DWP in the county court.

Kester Dean from @kesterrights at the March 2018 GMSCG meeting.

Kester has kindly agreed that the stream can remain available via Periscope and it will also be uploaded in due course to the GMWRAG YouTube account so it will be easily accessible for those of you incapable of finding Periscope but perfectly okay with cat videos. As soon as the YouTube upload has gone live we will of course post on here to let you know.

All of this broadly translates to the fact that if you want to see and hear Lucy you need to do so ASAP as the stream will be gone by the end of this week bar a 30 second clip we will use for publicity purposes. If you want to see and hear Kester then you have unlimited time to do so. All we ask between now and the end of Good Friday is 30 minutes of your time before we remove the video of Lucy. Please note that, unlike the live stream at the Salford GMWRAG meeting, we currently have no intention of transcribing the contents of either broadcast because we had multiple minute takers at the SCG meeting and are fairly confident we can capture the main points between us.

Top quality videos about Universal Credit from Housing Systems.

GMWRAG has written extensively in the past about the increasingly bewildering beast which is Universal Credit and the many, equally bewildering, attempts to explain it to us as advisers and indeed claimants. We continue to be largely bemused by DWP attempts on this front.

Soooo, it gives us a certain amount of pleasure to bring to your attention some jolly good videos from our friends at Housing Systems.

We are particularly enamoured by their rather splendid attempt to wholly muddy the waters of the “lobster pot” by introducing the concept of “Universal Credit as a smoothie?” Monty Python graphics combined with a simple explanation. Indeed it’s so effective we think they should remove the question mark. Like GMWRAG they have a YouTube account and you can find it at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCqdtFTlvg8GEzViBw7_fBkg/videos. GMWRAG has already subscribed and is looking forward to more along the same lines if only to see how they’re going to reconcile fruit salads, smoothies and lobsters 🙂

We’ve posted links to two of the three videos below. Enjoy and subscribe.