People are tearing Esther McVey and the DWP apart for their shocking double standards

Esther McVey

On 4 July, the National Audit Office slated work and pensions secretary Esther McVey, accusing her of misleading parliament over the DWP’s flagship Universal Credit policy.

So far, McVey has got away with issuing a short apology to parliament. But people are predicting that, if she were a benefit claimant, the DWP would not be so forgiving.

Double standards

On 15 June, the National Audit Office (NAO) issued a scathing report tearing Universal Credit apart for not being value for money and causing hardship for many. McVey twice addressed the House of Commons regarding the report.

On 4 July, the auditor general of the NAO – Amyas Morse – wrote to McVey, stating:

It is odd that by Friday 15 June you felt able to say that the NAO ‘did not take into account the impact of our recent changes’. You reiterated these statements on 2 July, but we have seen no evidence of such impacts or fresh information.

I’m afraid your statement on 2 July that the NAO was concerned universal credit is currently ‘rolling but too slowly’ and needs to ‘continue at a faster rate’ is also not correct. While we recognise regrettable early delays to universal credit, my recommendation made clearly on page 11 of the report is that the department must now ensure it is ready before it starts to transfer people over from previous benefits.

The ministerial code is clear:

But there seems to be one rule for McVey and another for those at the mercy of the DWP:

The government’s website states:

Your benefits can be reduced or stopped for up to 3 years if you’re convicted of benefit fraud.

And the DWP has prosecuted some claimants for misleading it. Yet that doesn’t seem to be on the agenda for McVey:


Even if claimants were just late for an appointment, they would feel far heavier retribution than McVey:

Surely the DWP has to treat her by its own rules?

Not fit for work

People are rightly furious that McVey is seemingly “getting away with it”:

While others drew a logical conclusion:

The DWP has caused misery for thousands of claimants, so seeing McVey grovel was enjoyable for some:

McVey continuing in her job is an insult to those who have faced the misery of sanctions or the despair of failing a Work Capability Assessment. So some argue there is only one fair outcome:

If the government lets McVey off with just a slap on the wrist, it will be an act of shocking hypocrisy, given how the DWP treats people who rely on benefits.

No wonder so many people think it’s time for McVey to get a taste of her own medicine.

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