McVey denied the DWP scans social media to reject benefit claims but, I have proof they visited my blog.5th July 2018 5 By Alex Tiffin - @RespectIsVital
On Tuesday Esther McVey denied that staff from the Department for Work and Pensions – DWP scan social media to look for ways to deny benefit claims. She may try and claim this to be true, but now I’ll show you evidence they’ve visited my blog.
On Tuesday, Labour MP Anna Turley asked the Work and Pensions Secretary Esther McVey, if it was DWP policy to scan social media for “evidence of spending patterns” to justify rejecting a claim for benefits.
Turley asked Ms McVey: “Can the Secretary of State inform this House if it is now official DWP policy to scan claimants Facebook and other social media pages for evidence of spending patterns, such as meals or days out with the family, which are then being used to turn down illness or disability related benefits?
“If this is approved DWP policy will she put the guidance before this House?”
Esther McVey answer that she didn’t think it was DWP policy adding; “we wouldn’t do it.” McVey did however add in what seems like a statement of acceptance that they do practice this big brother like policy;
“What I have seen before is when fraud investigations have happened as we’ll have seen people who might say they are not working or unable to work — unfortunately from what they’ve posted themselves on their Facebook page has proven very much not to be the case.”
While she may try and claim that they don’t scan social media, despite the thousands of cases of people being rejected because of what they’ve posted online. I can now show you proof that they have visited my blog.
Proof they visited my blog
As you can see here from an extract from my Universal Credit journal,( the area of the Universal Credit site you use to communicate with the DWP), my work coach left me a message.
Nothing unusual here, that is apart from the phrase; “further to the messages in your blogg.”
Apart from the misspelling, it’s as if they are trying to say I’m using my blog to communicate with them directly. Whilst I have written in my work journal on many occasions that had issues with the amount I get, it had been a while since I had done this. Not to mention the fact that they have already responded to them. The last message before this was health related.
Conformation from the DWP
I had been told by a source that the Department for Work and Pensions are aware of my online work, so I decided to test this.
I recently called the Department for Work and Pensions Press Office, stating that I was looking for a comment regarding a blogger who’d raised some issues about Universal Credit.
The response from the man on the other end of the phone;
“Does he happen to be called Alex? If so we are already aware of him. We cannot comment on individual cases for privacy reasons.”
Boom. Confirmed by the DWP themselves.
Esther McVey is losing control of the DWP
It’s not been a good week for the Work and Pensions Secretary. Just yesterday she was forced to apologise, (if it can be called that), for misleading parliament when she made a statement regarding the damning National Audit Office – NAO report.
This was following the highly unusual letter from NAO head Sir Aymas Morse, in which he blasted Ms McVey for lying about the reports content, despite her own department agreeing on the report prior to publication.
Now it seems she doesn’t even know what policies her own staff are following. With the mistakes and repeated denials of Universal Credit failing is time running out for an embattled Esther McVey?
Just a few days ago, actor Hugh Grant blasted her on Twitter with a tweet that has now been seen by millions. This was after I published an article on her bragging about eating out for an expensive breakfast the same week the NAO had said foodbank use is on the rise because of Universal Credit.
It seems for now McVey seems adamant to carry on but, there are growing calls for her to go from many across Westminster.
It’s still unsure if she broke the ministerial code by lying to parliament last week. Could time be running out? I’ll keep you updated.
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About the author
Just a guy documenting his experience on Universal Credit hoping to make a positive difference.