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The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has come under fire after it listed “Striptease Artist” as an appropriate job-search term on its website. The role also desacribed an Astrologist as someone who “divines and tells fortunes by various machines”. The DWP has since taken down the entire section of its website after being questioned on why they listed ‘stripper’ as an appropriate job.
Universal Credit is currently being under investiagtion by the Work and Pensions Committee for causing the risae of “survival sex”. With that in mind, you’d think the DWP would be more careful on the jobs it recommends.
However, that appears not to be the case after the HuffPost revelaed the Department listed “stiptease artist” as a possible serach term for jobseekers.
The DWP website has a section titled; “Jobs you could do”. This online tool is meant to help benefit claimants match their skills to appropriate jobs.
After a claimant puts in some of their skills, they are shown some of the differnent roles that may be suited to them along with a brief description.
As can be seen for the screengrab above, the DWP has listed; “Striptease Artist” as a term Universal Credit claimant should use when searching for work online. This is the formal term used for strippers whom work in adult clubs.
DWP Blames Other Government Department
After being alerted to the inclusion of striptesae artist, the DWP responded by blaming the Office for National Statistics (ONS) for it being included.
They blamed the “error” on pages being automatically generated from ONS data.
A spokesman for the Department said;
“This is inappropriate and we will immediately review this to determine why it is mistakenly listed. This is not the type of employment our work coaches help people into, and since 2010 more than 75% of all new jobs created are high-skilled and full-time.”
Since 2010 the DWP have banned job adverts for the sex industry so as to “prevent jobseekers feeling they had to accept jobs they felt uncomfortable with”.
So how this came to be “mistsakenly listed” is unknown.
DWP Take Entire Site Down
After be alerted by HuffPost yesterday, 21st August, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) took the entire section down. At the time of writing this article it remains “temporarily unavailable”.
This is obviously related to the inclusion of stiptease artist, but could also be due to the description given to other roles.
For example, it described an Astrologer as;
“divines and tells fortunes by various machines”.
Last time I checked, this would be called a fortune teller.
No Duty of Care
The DWP and the Government have always been keen to point out that Universal Credit provides a more tailored approach to help benefit claimants.
You’d therefore be forgiven for thinking that they would make some effort to ensure these important online tools are not just stock desciptions. Also, surely before a website is publish by a government department a quality assurance process takes place?
What this has highlighted yet again is that the DWP are failing in their duty of care towards claimants.
While working in an adult entertainment setting is not neccessarily classed as “sex work”, Daphne Hall, vice chair of the National Association of Welfare Rights Advisers and an editor at Rightsnet, told the HuffPost;
“Those [suggestions] aren’t about paying for sex or anything, but they’re sort of a bit of a slippery road towards it.”
Poverty is on the rise for claimants both in and out of work. Listing roles that could lead to exploitation is dangerous and unacceptable.
However, when has that ever bothered the DWP. The United Nations have repeatedly told them that they are increasing hardship on claimants only to have the government push back by saying they’re wrong.
What remains to be seen now is whether or not they actually put some effort into the website section in question, or if they just wait for it to blow over. I know what I think will happen.
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