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.
Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.
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