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Esther McVey: Image is everything to her DWP.

This tells you everything you need to know about the Conservative government’s attitude to people who need the state’s help.

It could not care less.

All that matters is image. If there is a threat to the government’s image as an organisation that behaves with all due propriety, then the DWP leaps into action to reverse an adverse decision.

Concern for the health and well-being of claimants is of no consequence at all.

The conclusion is clear:

If you fall foul of a DWP decision, take your story to the press and pile on the pressure. The bureaucrats will buckle.

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has admitted that it decided to review the sanctions imposed on a man who missed his Universal Credit meeting because of seizures was prompted by the media attention his story received.

Luke O’Donnell, who has epilepsy, was penalised after missing a work-related appointment for Job Seeker’s Allowance because he could not prove his seizures had prevented him from attending.

The story was widely shared and less than two weeks later, the Universal Credit department at the DWP informed him his sanctions would be reversed, saying “not enough consideration was placed on Mr O’Donnell’s health following three days of epileptic episodes”.

Even though his case was resolved and benefits fully reinstated, Mr O’Donnell wrote to Work and Pensions Secretary Esther McVey in June because he wanted acknowledgement that she was aware of the effects Universal Credit was having on claimants.

It was also confirmed that the move to review Mr O’Donnell’s case was triggered by the press coverage.

Source: DWP says sanctions review for epileptic man prompted by press coverage

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