DWP Staff Told In Training ‘Not To Mention Hardship Payments’ Finds C4 Reporter

Same Difference

GOVERNMENT workers are being trained to avoid giving benefit claimants details of hardship payments and other emergency funds, an undercover investigation has found.

A reporter from Channel 4’s Dispatches programme who joined a training course at a call centre in Bolton, Greater Manchester, was told not to volunteer information about same-day advance payments or other funds intended to tide claimants over until their benefits are paid.

At one point a trainer said the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), which administers the government’s new universal credit benefits scheme, was trying to restrict same-day payments because they “cost the department more money to do”. The trainer added: “It costs us 1p to do a five-day [payment] and costs us about £6 to do the [same-day].”

The reporter was also told that flexible support funds were “not advertised” and should not be mentioned unless the claimant specifically asked. “If we did [advertise]…

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