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THE government was officially banned today from running its inaccurate advertisements promoting the despised universal credit benefits system.
Advertisements promoting universal credit were placed by the government’s Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) in the free Metro newspaper and the Mail Online and Metro Online websites from May this year, aiming to “set the record straight” about the benefit.
The ads were placed following rising public outrage over the effects of universal credit, including suicides by people left destitute after being denied benefits and the forcing of one million people to use foodbanks because they could not afford to eat.
Thousands of disabled people have been thrown into poverty under the system.
Universal credit’s cruel effects have been documented by the government’s own National Audit Office.
The government-funded Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) imposed the ban on the advertising campaign, which was paid for with £225,000 of taxpayers’ cash.
After receiving complaints from 44 charities about the advertisements, the ASA ruled that the ads “did not accurately reflect the evidence” and blocked the government from running them again.
Linda Burnip of the Disabled People Against Cuts group (DPAC) said: “We are delighted by this outcome. It shows how bad the DWP’s lies are when the ASA bans them from lying in the future.”
Universal credit was introduced in 2013 by the Tories and their Liberal Democrat collaborators to replace six forms of benefit that helped Britain’s poorest and most disadvantaged people to survive, including disabled people.
Private contractors were hired at a cost of tens of millions of pounds to carry out “assessments” of claimants’ rights to receive benefits.
The contractors’ fees were based in part on their success in reducing the number of people receiving benefits.
Johnathan Blades of the Multiple Sclerosis Society said: “The fact is that universal credit is leaving disabled people significantly worse off — and in some cases forcing them to turn to foodbanks.
“The DWP must apologise for its actions and concentrate on fixing universal credit.”
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