The Sun got slammed for its ‘vile’ smearing of a generous mum, but it’s Christmas bonuses all round at the DWP

The Sun attacks a benefit claimant
Support us and go ad-free

On Friday 15 December, The Sun published a front-page story about a mum on benefits who was spending £2,000 on her kids’ Christmas presents. VoxPolitical said this “revives [the] ‘benefit scrounger’ lie to smooth over DWP’s bad publicity”. And one Twitter user described it as a piece of “vile journalism”.

The purpose of the story

This front-page story peddled the stereotype of benefits claimants being ‘scroungers’. The Sun consistently publishes these sorts of articles. Back in 2015, the paper included a ‘disgusting’ feature called ‘The Welfies‘, which claimed to recognise the UK’s biggest “scroungers and dossers”. Tom London on Twitter suggested the paper had a goal in mind. He said:

What is the purpose of this front page if not to encourage people to hate people on benefits?

He also said it makes people “less likely to be angry about… the tax cheating of people like Rupert Murdoch who owns The Sun”. Of course, the paper doesn’t report that. Murdoch has a long history of avoiding paying tax.

Also, as another Twitter user points out:

When you actually read the story it says she saves her benefits all year and doesn’t spend money on herself so she can do this for her kids.

And while one Twitter user thinks that benefits should only be for essentials and not luxuries, another replied:

Read on...

Support us and go ad-free

Benefits are *for* allowing people to live in dignity and not at some sort of subsistence bread and water life, while she makes sacrifices and saves them all year for Christmas.

But The Sun‘s headline doesn’t paint this picture of a mother doing the best for her children with the resources she has, using benefits she is entitled to.

Mike Sivier at VoxPolitical argues that:

The editors of The Sun have run this story because the Department for Work and Pensions has been shown up for denying benefits to people who deserve them, in order to meet a quota.

As The Independent reports, Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) officials have a ‘target’ to reject 80% of benefit appeals.


DWP workers were recently awarded £44m in bonuses for ‘good performance’. But The Canary has previously reported how the DWP has been performing poorly in its roll-out of Universal Credit. Former prime minister John Major has called the benefit “operationally messy”.

While DWP civil servants are getting bonuses, vulnerable people are struggling; either due to sanctions or being denied benefits altogether. But The Sun has decided to focus on benefit claimants as currently being the most significant problem with the welfare system.

Get Involved!

– Read more articles from The Canary on Universal Credit.

Join us, so we can keep holding the powerful to account.

Featured image via Wikimedia

Support us and go ad-free

We need your help to keep speaking the truth

Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.

Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.

We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.

In return, you get:

* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop

Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.

With your help we can continue:

* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do

We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?

The Canary Support us

Comments are closed