Government’s universal credit ads banned
Why were the ads banned?
Defending its claim that people moved into work faster under universal credit, the DWP said claimants were 4% more likely to have been employed at some point in the first six months of making their claim than those on legacy benefits. It said the ads contained additional information which included the terms and conditions for paying back advance payments, although added it was not possible to convey “all qualifying criteria”.
The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) said the September 2017 report, referred to by the DWP in support of the 4% claim, included people who had worked for only a few hours on one occasion during the relevant period.
The advertising regulator said: “We considered that a figure relating to whether people had been in work at some point within six months of making a universal credit or jobseeker’s allowance claim was not sufficiently relevant to how readers would understand the reference to ‘mov[ing] into work faster’ in the advertising claim, as referring to secure, ongoing employment.”
It concluded that the claim “as it would be understood by readers did not accurately reflect the evidence” and “was therefore misleading”. The ASA also said there was no data relating to the speed with which urgent advance payments were made, and it was therefore not possible to determine the proportion of claimants who received such payments on the same day they were requested.
The regulator said: “We told the Department for Work and Pensions to ensure that they held adequate evidence to substantiate the claims in their advertising, to include significant conditions, and to present significant conditions clearly.”