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At the time of writing, Amber Rudd has spent the last couple of days releasing statement after statement about changes she is making to the way the Department for Work and Pensions treats benefit claimants. I thought I was going to write an article about some of that nonsense.

Then I found that she had made a claim so boneheaded in its wilful ignorance of reality that it deserves special treatment.

Referring to the ongoing train crash that calls itself Universal Credit, she actually said: “Some of the criticisms that have come from various publications have been based on one or two particular individuals.”

This was in an interview with the Mirror, which has spent years highlighting “stories ranging from flaws in the system affecting millions, to struggling readers who’ve been forced to food banks”.

No, no. According to the Conservative cabinet minister who had to resign as Home Secretary because didn’t know the government department for which she was responsible had deportation targets (I think she did know), the government department for which she is now responsible has only harmed “one or two” Universal Credit claimants.

Oh, really?

Claimants like Lee Carroll, who was told he could not have any Universal Credit because he was in prison – even though he doesn’t have a criminal record?

How about Debbie Ballard, who suffered a miscarriage – that’s right, her baby died – because a Universal Credit “error” led to her landlord evicting her and her partner?

That’s two people, just from news stories published in the last few days.

Oh, but here’s another: Mark Scholfield – the DWP delayed his first Universal Credit payment for eight weeks. It arrived the day after he died.

Going back a little further, what about Brian Bailey?

Amy Nice?

Steve Pogson?

The list goes on and on and on. And Amber Rudd tells us Universal Credit has only ever harmed “one or two individuals.”

As Nicola James on Twitter put it: “DWP Secretary @AmberRuddHR claims that ‘heartbreaking benefit stories’ are representative of just 1 or 2 people. RT if you believe that Amber Rudd has knowingly missed quite a lot of zeros off that figure.”

What do you think?

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