Jail the DWP fraudsters who tried to fix UK unemployment figures!

[Image from a post on Facebook]

[Image from a post on Facebook]

Iain Duncan Smith and everybody else associated with this scam should be facing charges and the possibility of imprisonment, rather than re-election next year.

Let’s be honest about this: The government hasn’t messed up by omitting Universal Credit claimants from the official unemployment benefit claimant count – the Department for Work and Pensions messed up by admitting this had happened.

It means we may be looking at a long-term attempt to defraud the electorate. The plan seems clear: When the general election finally takes place next year, Iain Duncan Smith would have claimed that his policies have been a brilliant success in creating jobs and cutting down the number of people claiming benefits.

If people are convinced that the DWP has succeeded in cutting the amount of money being paid out in benefits – the burden on the taxpayer – then they are more likely to vote for the Conservatives. Electoral victory means more money for everybody involved – what’s known as a pecuniary advantage.

But the claim has been made by deception. Obtaining a pecuniary advantage by deception is the dictionary definition of criminal fraud.

There can be no doubt that the omission was deliberate. When it comes to fiddling the official figures, the DWP has ‘form’ going back for years. Look at the lies about the benefit cap pushing people into work; the way people on ESA were encouraged to say they were self-employed and claim tax credits – even though this is not permitted and they were racking up a huge overpayment.

Look at the abuses of the sanction system; look at the abuses of the IB/ESA work capability assessment; look at the number of successful appeals against the DWP that have been kept out of official figures.

The claimant count, which provides the headline unemployment figure, is the number of people claiming Jobseekers’ Allowance every month – and has been for many years.

But Iain Duncan Smith’s flagship (if the ship was the Titanic) Universal Credit is up and running – on an extremely limited basis – in certain pilot areas of the country, and people without a job in those areas should be included in the claimant count.

This has not happened. It is possible that this is yet another oversight by Mr Duncan Smith, the government’s top bungler (indeed, he was recently voted favourite cabinet minister by ConservativeHome, so he must be doing something right, and the thing he does most often is make mistakes).

Mr Duncan Smith himself would disagree, however. He has claimed repeatedly and vehemently that his department does not make mistakes with statistics; that everything done on his watch has been justified and that everybody at the DWP is entirely competent.

So we must accept that there was a decision to keep Universal Credit claimants out of the claimant count, meaning that there was a decision to make it seem there are fewer people unemployed than is actually the case.

This seems to be supported by the complaint from the Office for National Statistics, which publishes unemployment figures. The wording runs as follows: “The DWP have not been able to supply ONS with this information in a way that has allowed its inclusion within the Claimant Count [italics mine], resulting in the exclusion of UC claims from this measure.”

This implies that the DWP is perfectly capable of supplying the figures in a manageable way but has deliberately done otherwise.

Further indication that DWP officials knew exactly what they were doing comes from a spokeswoman’s response to this affair, published in the Daily Mirror: “We have been fully transparent in publishing the number of people claiming Universal Credit.

“To ensure consistency the Department released these figures alongside the employment statistics. Universal Credit is both an in- and out-of-work benefit so some claimants may be working.”

In that case, the DWP cannot have been “fully transparent”, can it? Transparency would have required the department to separate UC into “in-work” and “out-of-work” claims, and we have no evidence that this has happened. Until it does, neither the ONS nor the rest of us have any way of knowing how many people are unemployed in the UK.

This has been going on for nearly a year, as Universal Credit was rolled out in its first pilot area in April last year. This means that all unemployment statistics since then have been falsified by the DWP and unemployment figures have been higher than claimed.

The Labour Party has tried to paint this as incompetence, but it is wrong to do so.

This was deliberate, premeditated disinformation.

Now the deception has been uncovered, they are unrepentant.

Perhaps someone should remind them that fraud is still a crime.

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31 thoughts on “Jail the DWP fraudsters who tried to fix UK unemployment figures!

  1. Pingback: Jail the DWP fraudsters who tried to fix UK unemployment figures! by Mike Sivier | Change your Life, Change the World

  2. Joanna Terry (@terry_joanna)

    Thanks Mike, I knew when Mark Carn-ival refused to raise interest rates that something was up with the figures (more than usual, that is) now I know. Dumpkin always amazes me when I least expect it with his ability to be so inventive when he is obviously so stupid but then again it is well known that those without the ‘nouse are usually very sly.

  3. joanna

    what is the point? This government is way Above The Law!!! They always will be!!!! Unless someone somewhere who is wealthy enough And who isn’t lining the condem’s pocket does something about it! otherwise we are all condemned!!!!

  4. beastrabban

    Reblogged this on Beastrabban’s Weblog and commented:
    More creative manipulation of the statistics by Ian Duncan Smith and the Tories. In fact they have previous form for this: the unemployment figures were previously calculated using on those on short term benefit, while those claiming longer term benefits were excluded. This fiddling of the stats goes all the way back to Margaret Thatcher’s administration, when the EEC (as the EU then was) criticised Thatcher’s government for leaving out large sections of the unemployment. It didn’t stop them then, as over thirty years later they’re still doing it. But perhaps being caught red-handed at it during Mrs Thatcher’s premiership explains just why they’re so hostile to the EU.

    1. rabthecab

      It’s very much still going on – ESA claimants (Support Group & WRAG) are not shown anywhere in the figures; we’re classed as “economically inactive.”

      I suppose it could be argued that those in SG shouldn’t be counted; however those of us on WRAG are meant to be getting ready to go back to work at some point.

  5. Nick

    mike just like in north Korea IDS can do as he please and as i keep saying there is nothing you can do about it trust me on this

  6. Jo

    But aren’t there only a few thousand people on Universal Credit? Too few to make any real difference in the jobless count? Is this really worth getting hot under the collar about? I think not.

    1. jray

      It depends what Lie that IDS is spouting and on what day,in front of the various committees UC is “On time and on budget” but if only 2800 have been signed up? also there is a difference between being off benefits(sanctions,apprentices or other programmes that are not counted) and being employed(self employed,zero hours,part time) although this may be a poor example Mc’donalds can tell in real time how much each restaurant has sold,on an item by item basis,how much to reorder and profitability on an hourly basis,costly to develop? yes,but not Billions and it works!

  7. Pingback: Jail the DWP fraudsters who tried to fix UK une...

  8. Iain Duncan-Smith should be charged with Corporate Manslaughter

    Iain Duncan-Smith should be charged with Corporate Manslaughter


    The freedom of Information act should be used to calculate the number of victims of Iain Duncan-Smith and ATOS.

    Iain Duncan-Smith should be put on Trial charged with Corporate Manslaughter, face the consequences, and be banned from Public Office for Life.


    1. Mike Sivier

      I and others have already made Freedom of Information requests in this regard. They have been refused by the Department for Work and Pensions for reasons which are nonsense.

      The Information Commissioner supported the DWP when I appealed against this refusal, and for this reason I am taking the commission to a tribunal in the spring. The intention is for the ruling(s) to be overturned and for the tribunal to order the DWP to publicise the deaths.

    2. Nick

      what IDS is doing to the sick and disabled is out in the open unlike in north Korea out of sight

      the UN says north Korea is wrong but lets the UK to continue to punish the sick and disabled to their death in many cases

      the whole thing makes no sense to me whatsoever and with regret the UN is not helping

      it’s either wrong for a government to punish or kill it’s weakest or it’s not pure and simple irrespective of the country

  9. argotina1

    The numbers of people affected by the universal credit stats is in the thousands. The number of people not counted as unemployed because they are on sanctions or the work program runs into the hundreds of thousands, possibly millions. However this kind of thing is not new, remember decades ago when a Labour government moved people from unelmployment benefit to sickness benefit also to reduce the unemployment figures?

    1. Mike Sivier

      No, I don’t. I remember when a Conservative government under Margaret Thatcher moved people from unemployment to sickness benefit to reduce the unemployment figures.

      1. Jezz

        Some of this involved budget fudging between govt departments. Under Thathcher, Unemployment Benefit was paid by the Department of Employment, while disability benefits (with pensions) came from the budget of the Department of Health and Social Security.

        Jobcentre staff were encouraged by their bosses to refer any claimant with a chronic condition to the DHSS, so the DoE could reduce its own spending and the DHSS could pick up the tab.

        There was little evidence of any claimant fakery or scrounging. By and large those referred to the DHSS were older people who HAD been working until Thatcher closed the mines and factories. Many of this group were approaching retirement, and with progressive conditions, most would have eventually been forced onto sick benefits anyway. Added to this, Jobcentres were well aware that in a time of recession and high unemployment, no employer would have been prepared to take on these ageing and disabled workers. IOW this pragmatic approach amounted to a form of early retirement. At least it was humane in its effects and nobody died unnecessarily.

        These halcyon days of disability support came to an end under Major and Peter Lilley, as benefit payments were unified (sound familiar?) under the Benefits Agency, bringing to an end the wrangling between the former DoE and DHSS. (Meantime the unified DHSS was split into two bodies, the Department of Health and the Department of Social Security).

        Lilley immediately brought in a regime of medicals exams (generally with retired and/or struck-off GPs that the Agency employed direct) to weed back out the DHSS’s more mildly disabled claimants, so they could be kicked back down to unemployment-related benefits which paid substantially less. (In fact the medicals found most of these claims to be entirely geniune).

        Now we have a renewed purge pf the disabled with Atos reassessing IB claimants and throwing off large numbers onto Jobseeker’s Allowance.

        And still the disabled are hunted down and punished over the ‘skiver’ myth that grew up around a long-dead group of physically debilitated claimants from the 1980s. It seems to have inspired ESA, PIP, ATOS, the endless inquisitions, and the WRAG work-related activity group inflicted on the majority of disabled ppl under IDS – despite benefits fraud being well under one per-cent.

        Considering that around half of all claimants with chronic degenerative diseases are being aubsively and unjustly sentenced to WRAG (where they are all expected to undergo miracle cures and be work-ready after 12 months of harrassment), the utter bancruptcy of the entire system is clear..

      2. Mike Sivier

        I’m happy to go along with a lot of what you say here. The Thatcher (Tory) government instituted the disability fudge – whether it was justified or not – and the Major (Tory) government continued it.

  10. Pendantic Geek

    Does this mean that every discussion by DWP ministers on this subject has been a lie to Parliament?

    1. Mike Sivier

      Difficult to answer. If they said it was a mistake, they could get away with apologising for it and move on – but the spokesperson already said it wasn’t. If they said they had provided the information but had to admit it was in a form the ONS could not use, they would still have to apologise for causing the difficulty, which is probably the way they would go if they had to.

  11. Pingback: Jail the DWP fraudsters who tried to fix UK unemployment figures! - Iain Duncan Smith

  12. AM-FM

    I they really had got rid of 500,000 unproductive public sector jobs, and replaced them with 1.4 million super productive private sector jobs, and we now have more people working than ever, then why are we only producing what we did in 2008.

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