Universal credit is being introduced in stages across the UK, replacing a series of benefits. These are Child Tax Credit, Housing Benefit, Income Support, income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA), income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), and Working Tax Credit. This week, a cross-party group of MPs have written to Amber Rudd, the work and pensions secretary. The work and pensions select committee have demanded more details of a reported £250,000 “unbranded” PR campaign, promoting universal credit, according to The Guardian.
It comes after the publication reported that the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has taken out newspaper advertorials which claim to “myth-bust common inaccuracies” about the topic in a “UC-uncovered investigation”.
The campaign is said to not feature any DWP branding, according to a leaked internal document.
“The features won’t look or feel like UC – you won’t see our branding,” the memo is believed to say, according to The Guardian.
As well as the reported wrap-around advert and four-page advertorial feature in a national daily newspaper, The Sun report that DWP internal communications have said it is “working closely with the BBC” for a new documentary series ,which focuses on the controversial benefits system and is set to air this autumn, in order to ensure "a balanced and insightful piece of television".
A BBC spokesperson said: “The BBC has full editorial control over this series which will be an impartial look at Universal Credit.”
Chair of the work and pensions select committee Frank Field has written to Ms Rudd, asking to see the internal DWP documents in full, as well as requesting details of the cost off the campaign.
Universal credit is being introduced in stages across the UK (Image: GETTY)
Universal credit is being introduced in stages across the UK
Mr Field has also enquired as to whether Ms Rudd personally approved the plans, and how the department can ensure accuracy in the working of the reported advertorial in the publication Metro.
The Chair has also asked about the plans for a BBC documentary, and whether the select committee