Tory lies about Universal Credit are STILL being used – to harm vulnerable benefit claimants

‘Not all correct’: It turns out that the DWP’s ad campaign didn’t set the record straight… in other words, it was crooked.

A keystone of the Tory claim that Universal Credit makes lives better has been ruled misleading by an advertising watchdog – but is still being used to trick people into signing up for the failed “benefit”.

The claim – that “people move into work faster” under Universal Credit “fails to meet the basic standards of truthfulness and honesty that we demand of soap powder commercials”, according to Paul Morrissey, in a letter to The Guardian.

It was featured in a series of adverts that appeared in Metro and MailOnline.

But not only has it been used 67 times by Conservative MPs defending Universal Credit in Parliament (as well as in countless media interviews), it also indicates that officials in the DWP “seem to have been willing participants in attempts by the government to manipulate the evidence… rather than providing an objective analysis of its impact”, according to fellow scribe Alan Spence.

The claim breached the advertising code under rules 3.1 (Misleading advertising), 3.7 (Substantiation), 3.9 (Qualification) and 3.11 (Exaggeration) – and the DWP has been “neither able to satisfactorily explain its actions or apologise for the harm they will have caused to the people who may have moved on to Universal Credit as a result”, according to Raji Hunjan, CEO of Zacchaeus 2000 Trust, the first anti-poverty charity to complain about the adverts.

She said the ruling had come too late, as the ad campaign has ended.

So Z2K has launched a public campaign calling for an apology from the DWP and an independent investigation into how and why these adverts came to be authorised.

Ms Hunjan wrote: “It is vital that we the public can trust government departments to be telling us the truth, particularly in being clear about their strategies to ensure that the social security system works as a safety net to reduce the numbers of people now living in poverty in the UK.

“Instead of using taxpayers’ money on a failed PR campaign, the DWP must now start engaging meaningfully with the widespread evidence of the impact of welfare reform on pushing people into poverty.”

Do you think it will?

This Writer would rather see punitive action taken against those within the DWP – and the Conservative Party – who thought it would be a wizard wheeze to publish a pack of lies.

I would also like to see the DWP broken up and a return to the more supportive ethos of the former Department for Social Security.

For that, we need a Labour government.

That’s a fact we can all trust.

Source: Untangling the lies told about universal credit | Letters | Society | The Guardian

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  1. trev November 8, 2019 at 8:21 pm - Reply

    I’d like to see the DWP dismantled and all the Jobcentres closed down. Bring back the DHSS and the Unemployment Benefit Office with UB40s and weekly payments. Scrap all back-to-work schemes and employability skills courses. Abolish Benefit Sanctions. Or scrap unemployment benefits and replace with Unconditional Basic Income.

    • timfrom November 8, 2019 at 10:39 pm - Reply

      Well said, trev! 👍

  2. Gary November 8, 2019 at 8:35 pm - Reply

    I truly HATE having to do this but I must. Please realise that this is NOT down to the employees of the DWP. EVERY decision on matters such as this is a political decision made by a cabinet minister. DWP (like every other Civil Service Dept) acts in accordance with the wishes of the government of the day and to the best of it’s ability.

    This means that Civil Servants are often asked to do things, although legal, that they disagree with. To act otherwise for a Civil Servant is a breach of the Civil Service Code and also would cause chaos every time there was a GE.

    So PLEASE stop blaming the workers, this is ENTIRELY down to the politicians.

    It’s NEVER a ‘DWP decision’ it’s ALWAYS a ‘Government decision’ Politicians LOVE blaming the workers, but it’s the politicians who tell the workers EXACTLY what they want done, not the other way round.

    I’m kinda sick of having to tell people this, it should be obvious but I’m afraid even Labour governments like to do it too. Remember the Tax Credit debacle? The system meltdown? The Labour government of the day were warned REPEATEDLEY not to move ALL claimants over on a single day but rather cut across at their renewal dates. This advice was ignored, the government then blamed the Civil Service! Whilst the Civil Service worked overtime to ensure that the massive government cock up was eventually put right, the government sent memos to them thanking them for their hard work but publicly continued to blame them.

    This is what governments do, pass the buck. Stop helping them, Mike!!

    • Mike Sivier November 9, 2019 at 11:25 pm - Reply

      While you are correct that civil servants carry out the wishes of the government of the day, it has been known for several years that the culture at the top of the DWP is very much in line with Conservative government policy. The people quoted in the article were referring to those people and made it clear that it was those at the top, who seem wholeheartedly in support of Tory government policy, who need to account for themselves.

      We have seen examples of this culture – that dehumanises benefit claimants and subjects them to mockery and humiliation – many times. I have reported on those that have been passed to me.

      So I’m sorry but I do not believe it is true that the civil service bears no responsibility and I think it would be better all around if you stopped trying to get them off the hook.

      Remember, the excuse of “only following orders” hasn’t been valid since the Nuremberg trials.

  3. timfrom November 8, 2019 at 10:38 pm - Reply

    Well said, Mike! 👍

  4. Xena Maria Carlin November 9, 2019 at 8:29 pm - Reply

    You have no choice if you want universal credit or not they just stop your money and tell you to sign up made me go 5 months with just child tax and then I was asked for the tax back for the period I was without money saying they over paid me but I still had children living at my house. I was also pregnant at the time

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