The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), the UK’s regulator of advertising, has ruled the Department for Work & Pensions series of ‘myth-busting’ ads about Universal Credit earlier this summer were misleading.
To highlight the reality faced by many people waiting for Universal Credit, the Trussell Trust launched its own ‘Universal Credit Uncovered’ project with partner organisations involved in the #5WeeksTooLong campaign, calling for an end to the five week wait for Universal Credit.
The ruling comes the day after the Trussell Trust published State of Hunger, the most authoritative, independent research into the drivers of hunger in the UK to date. The disproportionate number of Universal Credit claimants among people referred food banks led researchers at Heriot-Watt to conclude: ‘there is something in the make-up of Universal Credit that drives food bank use, in comparison to other benefits’.
As a member of the Disability Benefits Consortium, which made an official complaint to the ASA, the Trussell Trust was pleased to stand alongside other charities which made complaints, including Zacchaeus 2000 Trust and the Motor Neurone Disease Association.
Emma Revie, chief executive at the Trussell Trust said:
“The DWP’s adverts were misleading, and distracted from the urgent change we need to prevent more people being plunged into poverty. It’s disappointing that the UK’s regulator of advertising had to get involved in the first place.
“This ruling is confirmation that the DWP cannot easily gloss over the realities of Universal Credit, particularly the five week wait for a first payment. The Trussell Trust and countless other organisations have highlighted Universal Credit issues consistently. What we need now, as the country heads into an election, is a pledge from politicians on all sides to protect people from hunger by making sure everyone has enough money for the basics. We must start working towards a future where no one needs a food bank by ending the five week wait for Universal Credit; ensuring benefit payments cover the cost of living; and investing in local emergency support for people in crisis.
“Together, these three changes will put money back into the pockets of people who most need our support. It’s not right that anyone has to walk through the doors of a food bank in the UK. But it’s in our power as a country to end the need for food banks – this can change.”
Contact the Trussell Trust media team at 020 3137 3699 or [email protected]
Notes to Editor
About the Trussell Trust:
- We’re here to end the need for food banks in UK
- We support a UK-wide network of more than 1,200 food bank centres and together we provide emergency food and support to people locked in poverty, and campaign for change to end the need for food banks in the UK
- Our most recent figures for the number of emergency food supplies provided by our network: https://www.trusselltrust.org/news-and-blog/latest-stats/
You can read more about our work at www.trusselltrust.org