Latest DWP lie: Millions ‘unspent’ in support for ‘welfare reform’ victims

Fraud: This man wants you to believe DWP austerity measures are succeeding, in order to win votes at next year's general election. They aren't. He is a liar.

Fraud: This man wants you to believe DWP austerity measures are succeeding, in order to win votes at next year’s general election. They aren’t. He is a liar.

The Department for Work and Pensions is merrily claiming that more than £13 million allocated to help people who have been hit be the government’s unfair ‘welfare reforms’ via Discretionary Housing Payments has gone unclaimed. Lord Freud wants you to think “recent scare stories about councils running out of money were grossly exaggerated”.

He was – of course – lying through his teeth.

A quick look at the facts reveals that Discretionary Housing Payment was overspent by £3,505,582 during the 2013-14 financial year. That’s two per cent more than the government allocated.

The £13,285,430 underspend quoted in the press release refers to just 240 out of the 380 councils that distribute DHPs. It completely ignores the £16,791,012 overspent by 127 other councils, in order to provide a false figure. The remaining 13 councils spent all of their allocated amounts.

Focus on the regions and the picture gets worse: In Scotland, DHP was overspent by 76 per cent of the amount allocated – £28,700,215 against an allocation of £16,269,675 from the DWP. Scottish councils had to foot the bill for the extra amounts.

Wales spent an extra six per cent – £7,724,176 against an allocation of £7,274,829. Here in Powys, 1,200 of the county’s 8,300 social dwellings were affected by the bedroom tax, with a total annual loss of housing benefit of £800,000. The total DHP funding available was £154,975.

Looking at those figures, it’s amazing the overspend was so small.

It is only in England that a net underspend is recorded – of around £9 million.

So let’s have a look at Lord Fraud’s – sorry, Freud’s – statement that “today’s figures also show that recent scare stories about councils running out of money were grossly exaggerated.”

Grossly exaggerated? The fact is that 127 councils did run out of money – that’s more than one-third of the total.

It would be fairer to say that the scare stories came true.

The press release also states that “around three-quarters of councils also did not apply for a £20 million government top-up fund to help claimants adjust to welfare changes, leaving a further £7.1 million unspent”.

No figures are provided to support this statement.

People will be angry about this – and rightly so.

The BBC has just brought massed complaints down on itself after it chose to ignore a 50,000-strong demonstration against the government’s austerity measures that started outside the Corporation’s front door. Many incensed callers and emailers said they feared the BBC was participating in a conspiracy of silence about the harm being caused to ordinary people.

Now we see the DWP is lying to us about the harm its bedroom tax is doing to ordinary people – including hardworking employees, who make up more than 90 per cent of new housing benefit claimants.

Tory leader David Cameron has been banging the drum for Britishness recently – good for him. It gives us an opportunity to point out that, if there’s one British value that stands out above all the rest, it’s this:

We hate people in authority who try to mislead us.

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20 thoughts on “Latest DWP lie: Millions ‘unspent’ in support for ‘welfare reform’ victims

  1. biggriz

    Hi. I have started to have trouble with my local council (Ipswich) re the bedroom tax. I thought I hade archived all your posts about this subject but apparently not as I’m sure I saw one say that ‘a room is defined by the use it is put to’ or similar. Is it possible to send me a copy of your wonderful posts on this subject?

    Thank you,

    Alec Suttenwood

  2. Jonathan Wilson

    I can’t remember where I read it, but central gov refused X million to some councils (out of the extra or base or both allocation) on the premise that it would would allow the councils to negate the affects of the bedroom tax to much.

    I think it was in a summary/detail document released a couple of days ago, possibly a week… and I wonder how much of that “refused” allocation is included in the 7.1+20million that is in this report and thats why its not been defined/detailed.

    Also the allocations were not based on numbers, but by sticking a finger in the air and making sure the rural (tory) areas were not hit to hard under the guise of “less places to move, harder hit” or some such bullshit.

    So this, current, report is factually correct but misleading and when pulled up on it they will just say “we released the figures in another report, so we didn’t mislead.”

    Quite frankly I wouldn’t trust Toad Fraud to be honest about the color of the sky as his reputation is riding on the reforms more than IDS’s are… after all we know IDs is an incompetent moron who couldn’t even carry a bag (lets face it that what an aide-de-camp is) properly for a higher rank during his army career and was sacked (RTU’d) before attaining rank.

    1. Mike Sivier

      While I agree with most of what you said, the report is not factually correct because it alleges a saving of £13 million when the reality is an overspend.

    2. Jonathan Wilson

      (reposted from spey’s latest, June 24, 2014. The point I was referencing in my original about part of the underspend being deliberate withholding.)

      Baroness Sherlock (Lab):

      My Lords, the Minister has often complained about councils underspending the discretionary funds that mitigate the effect of the bedroom fax. Did he see the report in Inside Housing last week which stated that £7 million of the extra £20 million allocated by the Government last July remains unallocated to councils by the Government? An FoI request showed that 27 councils did not get the money they asked for mostly because the department decided that this would allow them to buy out the effects of the bedroom tax. So people asked for money, were turned down because it would have the effect that was wanted, and then it is claimed that the underspend shows that they did not need any more money in the first place. How can the Minister explain that to the thousands of people affected by the bedroom tax?

      Good question and very specific! So did Lord Freud answer? (Sorry reader that was rhetorical!)
      Lord Freud:

      My Lords, some of my more sharp-eyed colleagues here will have seen the information we put out on the discretionary housing payments for last year. That showed that there was a £13 million underspend by 240 councils and that of the £20 million bidding fund, £7 million was not spent. The £20 million was not applied for in its entirety. However, we allocated that money on the basis of parity of requirement. There was an extensive process to make sure that we gave the appropriate amounts of money to those councils.

  3. Jeffrey Davies

    whot tickles me is how much did it cost councils after house holders who couldn’t afford this tax cost them to rehouse else were bed and breakfast isn’t it strange when those in power lie to us plebbs

  4. Mr.Angry

    The lies just take your breath away, I am fearful given the lack of clarity from the Labour party what would happen if this criminal bunch get back in. Will put my house for sale me thinks and move to anywhere away from these tyrants. Somalia sounds promising. I also have written to the BBC expressing my sheer disgust at their silencing agenda will post the reply if and when it arrives.

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  8. beastrabban

    Reblogged this on Beastrabban’s Weblog and commented:
    This is another old Tory trick going all the way back to Maggie. Thatcher cut benefits left, right and centre, yet when it was election time, suddenly there were announcement on the news about millions of unemployment benefit going unclaimed. They were unclaimed because they were deliberately withheld from claimants, who either weren’t told about them – this was another deliberate policy of the Tories – or else were told they were ineligible for them. Nevertheless, it was part of the lie that the Tories hadn’t cut benefits at all, and the problem was simply that of people being unaware of them. Freud is merely repeating this tactic. The only real difference is that there is indeed an overspend this time, and he’s lying through his teeth. As the man is an accomplished and inveterate liar, this is really no difference at all.

  9. johndeee

    Exactly. Wilts County Council refused to backdate my Discretionary Housing Payment (DHP) claim after I failed to win an appeal against my bedroom tax benefit cut. The WCC housing benefit manager said in court that he couldn’t understand why I hadn’t claimed DHP previously – they had lots of DHP funding left over from 2013. Yet he has refused to backdate my DHP claim to April 2013 – so now I’m £900 in rent arrears (and this claim only lasts six months).

    And I know of at least one person who was refused a DHP in Wiltshire!

    They also told my lawyer that they wouldn’t reconsider a DHP claim unless I reduced my charitable donations (as declared in my budget statement!) Well, if you never come across anyone worse off than yourself then you must have your eyes closed. Uncharitable scum.

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