Dire DWP benefit fraud parody video is far more serious than it seems

DWP benefit fraud officer filming a raid
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The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has released a new video about benefit fraud. It’s cringe, to say the least. However, when you look beyond the appalling Hollywood parody, it actually shows the department is increasing its hardline approach to dealing with benefit claimants – not that this is new.

Benefit fraud: a right-wing fairytale

It’s worth repeating, as the Canary has repeatedly written, that so-called rampant ‘benefit fraud’ is a right-wing myth. It’s partly based on the DWP guessing some numbers.

In 2020/21, much of the so-called fraud the DWP believed happened was actually due to either organised crime, the DWP changing the way it categorises fraud, or it was based on flimsy evidence. For example, it claimed total fraud that year was £8.3bn. However, £1.9bn of that was from organised crime. It also doesn’t base some fraud on any evidence. As the DWP admitted:

Any Fraud that is Causal Link (Low Suspicion) has been recategorised to a new category of “Failure to provide evidence/fully engage in the process”. Cases with an error in this new category have forgone their full benefit entitlement rather than engage in the benefit review process. We therefore make the assumption that the claim was fraudulent, even though the reason for their non-engagement is not clear.

So, it bases some of its fraud estimates on assumptions. However, this hasn’t stopped the DWP peddling the lie that benefit fraud is a huge problem – as it’s latest campaign shows.

DWP: our skills make us a nightmare for people like you

The new video the department has released is beyond Orwellian satire. Minister for disabled people Tom Pursglove is seen on a police raid, wearing a bullet-proof vest with “DWP” emblazoned upon it. He watches as cops cart-away a ‘fraudster’. The minister for disabled people says, like he’s landed the lead role in Taken 4 (because Liam Neeson didn’t want to be involved in this shit):

Read on...

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It is beyond parody. However, it’s actually also very serious. As many people pointed out on Twitter, this public display of aggression and force by the DWP is wholly inappropriate when dealing with chronically ill and disabled people:

Users also pointed out that the Tories have one rule for poor people, and another for rich people and corporations:

Other people said that it was akin to fascism:

Ultimately, though, we knew this approach from the DWP was coming. As the Canary previously wrote, former DWP boss Thérèse Coffey already gave the department more powers over benefit fraud – like DWP staff being able to arrest people and issue warrants.

The benefits system: working how it’s supposed to

As we’ve seen, this hardline approach is nothing new. This is the department which saw around 35,000 claimants die on its watch between 2011-2018. 90 people a month were dying after the DWP told them they were fit for work. The UN accused it and successive governments in 2016 of “grave” and “systematic” violations of disabled people’s human rights – and in 2017 called the situation in the UK a “human catastrophe“. Clearly, nothing has changed.

The DWP putting out a video, warning benefit claimants it’s coming for them, is not that shocking. Moreover, it is the DWP functioning as it should. The department is not, and never has been, there to “support” people. It is there to force people into work. If they can’t work, it’s there to provide them with just enough money to eek out a horrible, joyless existence. Or, in some cases, the DWP doesn’t even provide this – and it lets people die.

It is another arm of a system, and a state, where chronically ill, disabled and poor people are an expendable burden. The DWP’s job is to dispose of them – or keep them out of sight, and out of mind. Pursglove’s turn as hard-man action hero is just another example of that.

Featured image via the DWP – screengrab

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  • Show Comments
    1. Dire DWP benefit fraud parody video is far more serious than it seems.

      Why a black persons only in Video Picture is this so the D.W.P. Minister
      can blame his Black employee for being to heavy handed and cover his or her
      D.W.P. Minister backside when the truth come out yes or no?

      D.W.P. Minister what is the true FULL figures of Deaths WITH Claimant over
      sanctions when you stop their benifts cash help???
      To D.W.P. Minister
      Is this heavy handed Tactics use on Govt M.P.-Minister alike that possibly or could
      wrongfully claim exspeneccs back of us Taxpayer or make dodgy claim while off work sick
      are they threatened in any way like the Joe public are ?? if found to be screwing the D.W.P. serves out of public (taxpayer money) yes or no?
      To public the U-.Credit Scam is Of Tory party M.P.-Minister alike making that is killing
      people off unjustly, also do remember the defrauding and bad claims is going on is
      because Tory D.W.P. Minister keep changing the rule on Benefits that leave a backdoor
      OPEN to fraud claimer.

      How many well off Tory M.P.-Minister of Tory party were involved in putting this U.-Credit scam project together and what taxpayer money did they get paid to come up with this C**P Benefit. (That is not means tested so will not work right to serve all claiments)

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