Is this the DWP’s latest statistics fix?

Detective work: Let's uncover the facts hidden in the DWP's latest attempt to dazzle us all with statistics.

Detective work: Let’s uncover the facts hidden in the DWP’s latest attempt to dazzle us all with statistics.

According to the DWP, and dutifully repeated by the BBC, more than 3,000 people who were subjected to the government’s benefit cap have now found work.

But have they?

This statistic – and the basis on which it is worked out – seems very suspicious to us here at Vox Political. That is why this site is appealing for anyone whose benefit cap has been removed because of it to contact us with their story.

Here’s what the DWP is saying: “Over 8,000 households who had their benefits capped have since found jobs, reduced their benefit claim, or had another change of circumstance – with 40 per cent of these finding work.”

Lord Fraud – sorry, Freud… although it seems likely that he is living up to his nickname in this case – said: “It is encouraging to see that people who have been subject to the cap are moving into work, so soon after national implementation was complete.

“Our reforms are creating an alternative to life on benefits and already we are seeing an increasing number of people changing their circumstances so they are no longer subject to the cap.”

Changing their circumstances, are they? An alternative to life on benefits – or just an alternative life on benefits?

Does anybody else recall another situation in which people were advised to change their circumstances to avoid the effect of a government benefit change?

Here’s a clue: “Jobseekers on the Work Programme are being encouraged to declare that they are self-employed – when they aren’t – in order to get more money in tax credits than they would on Jobseekers’ Allowance.”

That’s right – this site reported, almost exactly a year ago (February 4, 2013), a BBC 5 Live investigation that interviewed people who “admitted they had been told to claim tax credits as self-employed people, even when they had no feasible job ideas or could not possibly turn a profit. They said they thought it was fraud.”

Let’s look at today’s figures on the Benefit Cap. The report suggests that 3,250 households were no longer subject to the cap – the magic 40 per cent who found work – because they had “an open tax credit claim”.

It would be wrong to suggest that every single one of these households had been urged to pretend self-employment, in order to avoid the cap – and thereby make it seem that the government was getting people into work, just as with the jobseekers last year. Some of them may have started their own business and some may have started working for other people.

But did they really all manage this feat, when there are five jobseekers for every available job?

It isn’t logical, is it?

That’s why Vox Political wants to hear from you if you were told to say you were self-employed, even though you didn’t have a job, in order to evade the Benefit Cap. You won’t be identified in any future article; the aim is to establish what is really going on.

It seems likely that the DWP is committing more benefit fraud than the rest of the country combined.

Vox Political deplores benefit fraud –
especially if it is committed by the government!
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  1. jray February 6, 2014 at 9:02 pm - Reply

    During my 2 years on the WP(50 yo male) I had to sit through 2 presentations to start my own business,I had to attend and participate in role playing and the business? selling avon..How friggin desperate are they to collect an outcome payment?

  2. jaypot2012 February 6, 2014 at 9:15 pm - Reply

    Reblogged this on Jay's Journal.

  3. tinydenzachgary taylor February 6, 2014 at 9:18 pm - Reply

    suspect it might also be financial – I went sel-employed and set up a company which surprise surprise costs money even when not trading – also had to register online for tax and that also looks to be a nightmare ie fines for failure to declare even if zero trade/profit – living the neo-liberal dream NOT

  4. ajh February 6, 2014 at 9:19 pm - Reply

    An oft repeated lie concerning the cap is that it only affects those that do not work .Many carers and others on IS work part-time may have escaped the cap by the receivership of other benefits not included.Many of the numbers may well have been working anyway.Of course the situation is not static,but what you cannot say is that people have returned to work because of the cap.When asked if all supported accommodation would be exempt as promised because for one thing,not doing so is leading to increased costs,his response was it wasn’t about the savings as much as changing behaviour.One hopes that carers have not changed their behaviour to the detriment of those they help or indeed their own wellbeing.

  5. alittleecon February 6, 2014 at 9:21 pm - Reply

    There are probably a few people who have gone self-employed, and claim tax credits without actually earning much, but equally, there will be some who got jobs paying too much for them to be eligible for tax credits.

    The issue I have is that it’s being claimed that the cap has been the stick that got these people back to work. In reality, even when the job market is tight, there is still a lot of ‘churn’. For example, in Dec 2013, 114,000 came off JSA because they had found work. Of those who had been claiming for over 12 months, 15,800 found work and stopped claiming. So the notion that members of 3250 households (out of 36000+) found work within 1-6 months of the cap being imposed, is not much of a revelation. The majority of those people would have found work cap or no cap. Because most people want to work.

  6. Mike Sivier February 6, 2014 at 9:30 pm - Reply

    Already I’ve had a response from a lady we’ll call Ms A. She writes: “I’m one of these statistics. I’ve no benefits and no home and am left earning 240 a month so much for being better off in work. I trusted the dwp and their “better off in work” disability work advisors and had the rug pulled from underneath my feet, and to top it all owe £1,168.82 in overpayment of working tax credits. If it wasn’t for a friend’s kindness I’d be homeless.
    Thank you for that, ‘Ms A’ – that’s one case clarified. Only 3,249 to go…

  7. Mike Sivier February 6, 2014 at 9:55 pm - Reply

    Here’s some more illumination from Neil Hemsley on Facebook: “What the DWP are doing is getting people to register as self employed with the promise of tax credits. HMRC have told me that the DWP are deliberately lying to claimants to get them off their books and that you can’t go self employed and get tax credits just like that, you have to prove that you actually have a viable business, the result being that these people are being turned down for tax credits and left with nothing because of false advice.”
    This explains why ‘Ms A’ has been overpaid WTC, then.
    It’s looking bad for those 3,250 ex-benefit capped households!

  8. […] According to the DWP, and dutifully repeated by the BBC, more than 3,000 people who were subjected to the government's benefit cap have now found work. But have they? This statistic – and the basis…  […]

  9. Nick February 6, 2014 at 11:56 pm - Reply

    even if Freud is correct and all of those have found jobs he has still failed to say that it has cost the lives of thousands during the overhaul of the benefit system. no mention of that and looks like he will get away with it as so few of the overall population are unaware or just playing the dumb game (never knew that mate)

    • Nick February 7, 2014 at 12:01 am - Reply

      you see if i were the prime minister I’d still be reading this blog and making a comment even my mp is a member of our county forum where i live and to his credit takes on board what the members think and writes off letters to all and sundry. It doesn’t get him anywhere just as i don’t get anywhere but the thing we both have in common is that we try

  10. jaynel62 February 7, 2014 at 5:54 am - Reply

    Reblogged this on jaynelinney and commented:
    Another excellent post from Mike at Vox Political on another DWP counting scam.

    It is becoming increasingly difficult to monitor the vast range of statistical fixes by this unelected Government.
    What do people think about setting up a central site where all of this evidence is collated; this would then allow one huge campaign – Thoughts ??

  11. jaynel62j February 7, 2014 at 5:55 am - Reply

    Reblogged at and added –

    Another excellent post from Mike at Vox Political on another DWP counting scam.
    It is becoming increasingly difficult to monitor the vast range of statistical fixes by this unelected Government.
    What do people think about setting up a central site where all of this evidence is collated; this would then allow one huge campaign – Thoughts ??

  12. beastrabban February 7, 2014 at 8:26 am - Reply

    Reblogged this on Beastrabban’s Weblog.

  13. Joseph Smith February 7, 2014 at 9:01 am - Reply

    The DWP, it’s managers the coalition and many of the staff are, simply, liars, they do and say anything to get the result their paymasters want regardless of how devious and dishonest the results are. Thank god for sites like this alerting us to the government and it’s agencies’ lies, in the run up to the election we need information about this government’s sly devious activities. Let’s hope we get rid of these well fed pink faced lying boys who defrauded their way in to power via a long list of lies and broken election promises.

    • Mike Sivier February 7, 2014 at 11:39 am - Reply

      Thanks, that’ll put VP right in the firing line of some overzealous DWP ‘brand manager’ – in the same way the spoof Jobcentre Plus Twitter account was targeted! I’ll keep an eye out, over my shoulder, for the snipers..!

  14. Paul Smyth February 7, 2014 at 9:20 am - Reply

    Reblogged this on The Greater Fool.

  15. […] the scam in which DWP employees at job centres dupe people into pretending they are self-employed when they really are…, in order to claim tax credits rather than unemployment […]

  16. Jenny Hambidge March 20, 2014 at 2:54 pm - Reply

    Just come across this Blog. i have a daughter single mum with 3 kids who was told by jobcentre to go self employed. She has been working for £2 an hour less than minimum wage because that is all she can make from her business. She was never told she had to have a “viable business” on the contrary she was told it didn’t matter too much how little she earned because she would still be better off on WTC and it would get DWP off her case.

  17. marcoonfrance April 10, 2014 at 7:18 pm - Reply

    I’m in the Wp and they are determined to get me into self employment again. my advisor is being quite forceful and she says that as soon as I find clients for my business I can sign off and make up the difference with working tax credits. I feel that I am being mislead here and I won’t be ‘better off’. i’ve worked as self employed before as a music tutor and this is the route that my advisor is taking me down. I feel that she is pushing me towards this for her own gain and presumably the bonus she will receive by doing so. But of course, she wouldn’t let on to this. Any tips or advice you can give?

    • Mike Sivier April 10, 2014 at 7:41 pm - Reply

      I’m going to throw this open to readers. Anyone?

  18. […] to the government’s benefit cap have now found work? This blog suggested at the time that many of them may have been encouraged to declare themselves self-employed in order to escape the hardship that the cap would cause […]

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