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DWP breached advertising standards

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has upheld our complaint against the Government’s Universal Credit adverts.

Now we’re demanding an apology from the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP).

Formal investigation

In June, as part of the Disability Benefits Consortium (DBC), we submitted a complaint to the ASA about the DWP’s advertising campaign in the Metro newspaper.

The ads claimed to be a “myth buster” on Universal Credit. But we argued they were misleading and dangerous to the health and financial security of disabled people.

After receiving our complaint, the ASA launched a formal investigation.

Today the ASA has ruled the adverts breached the advertising code.

DWP’s “facts” were all misleading

In its ruling, the ASA said the DWP couldn’t sufficiently substantiate its claims about Universal Credit. It said the so-called “facts” presented in the adverts were all misleading. These included claims that:

  • people could move into work faster under Universal Credit
  • payments could be made sooner than five weeks
  • people could get “advance payments” (with no explanation that these are loans that come with conditions).

Now we need an apology

Jonathan Blades, our External Relations Manager and Parliamentary Co-Chair of the DBC, said:

“This ruling exposes the DWP’s indefensible attempt to provide inaccurate information to vulnerable people. The fact is Universal Credit is leaving disabled people significantly worse off, and in some cases forcing them to turn to food banks.

"It’s equally disgraceful these adverts have cost the taxpayer more than £225,000, at a time when disabled people are typically losing £1,200 a year thanks to welfare system changes. The DWP must apologise for its actions and concentrate on fixing Universal Credit."

Making welfare make sense

Universal Credit isn’t the only area of benefits that needs to change for people with MS. In the run up to the general election, we’ll be calling for the next UK Government to make PIP make sense.

Join our campaigns community and be the first to find out how to get involved with our PIP campaign.

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