DWP press office resort to hate language

The DWP Press office allowed its mask to slip briefly last week when it resorted to calling benefits payments ‘welfare hand-outs’ in a press release which later became the Daily Mail’s headline story.

In an update about the benefit cap on Thursday 9 January headlined “Benefits capped for 33,000 households” the DWP explained that:

‘The Benefits cap limits welfare hand-outs to £500 a week. . .’

The next day, in its front page lead, the Daily Mail regurgitated the DWP press release:

“More than 33,000 households have had their benefits slashed since handouts were capped at £500 a week.”

The term ‘hand-outs’ is a deeply derogatory one, invariably used by those wishing to encourage prejudice and hatred towards claimants.

For the DWP to use the term ‘hand-outs’ is a shocking departure from the measured language and impartiality the public have an absolute right to expect from civil servants whose wages are paid by public taxes, not by the tabloids or by propaganda peddling government ministers.

It is this sort of prejudicial language which fuels hatred of claimants. Is it any wonder that there is an increasing level of hate-crimes, fear and suicides – especially amongst sick and disabled people?

The only appropriate response from the DWP would be to send out a press release apologising for its inappropriate and inflammatory use of language.

So, if you are as disgusted as we are by the DWP’s language and by its response when challenged, please email your complaint to:


You might also want to forward a copy of your complaint to your MP, using the Write To Them website.

From: Benefits and Work.co.uk


6 responses to this post.

  1. The U.S. has a long-history of condemning “welfare” (non-corporate welfare, that is) recipients. In part of my doctoral research, I discovered that in the U.S.’s early early history (e.g., 18th century), localities could (and did): make its poor wear a mark on their clothes indicating the wearer received public help; create bizarre “citizenship” requirements for recipients (who had to be born in that locality); and could physically remove and “release” (into the forest, e.g.,) unwanted welfare recipients. States also had “pauper auctions” (New York, in fact, into the 19th century), where the poor were auctioned off to the highest bidder and under that indenteture would “work off” debt. Shameful. A lot can be learned about a society by looking at how it treats its poor.


  2. Reblogged this on oopster74 and commented:
    I think the word “handout” isn’t well thought out, maybe “pay out” would have been better, but it does seem a little like a storm in a teacup to be honest, even though I completely understand the sentiment behind it.


  3. Reblogged this on kickingthecat.


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