DWP warned over portrayal of benefit claimants

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Ministers at the Department for Work and Pensions have been criticised by MPs for using language that "feeds into negative public views about benefit recipients".

In a report today, the DWP select committee said the Department need to "exercise care" in the language used in press releases and ministerial comments.

It also called on the DWP to set out specific steps it had taken to ensure that statistics are released "in a way which is accurate and fair to benefit claimants".

Chair of the DWP select committe Dame Anne Begg, said: "Statistics should be used to shed light on policy implementation, not to prop up established views or feed preconceptions.

“The UK Statistics Authority reprimanded DWP a number of times in 2013 for the way it was handling benefit statistics.

“Government efforts to promote a positive image of disabled people will be undermined if the language used by DWP when communicating benefit statistics to the media feeds into negative perceptions and prejudices about benefit recipients, including disabled people.”