Winter Fuel Payment
Tell the Truth 3
When George Osborne announced ‘people in hot countries will not get it ….’, we realised we were in a battle over the Winter Fuel Payment.
We utterly failed to appreciate what kind of battle!
You start with the assumption that Government Departments and Ministers will ‘play fair’ - you don’t expect underhand methods! One of us gathered material about the WFP to place before a First-tier Tribunal, hoping to persuade a Judge to require the DWP to provide figures of how many WFP claimants there are who live on the Costa del Sol - a response to the 30th December 2014 ‘exclusive’ from IDS. As the search for detail to submit to the Tribunal was widened, a disturbing and distressing picture emerged.
For a long time, we were unable to comprehend why Iain Duncan Smith and the DWP felt it so necessary to issue statements and briefings, at regular intervals, including a number of quotes from IDS himself, making UK Pensioners to be some kind of villains. Saying, as IDS did, that paying the WFP to those of us who had sought some extra days of sunshine and maybe some shorter winters, was an 'obscene waste of taxpayers' money', really put the boot in!
The Daily Mail, and The Mail Online have waged war for a number of years on the Benefit Cheats - individuals committing criminal offences, some receiving prison sentences, ripping off many tens of thousands of pounds from the taxpayer. Those articles were often accompanied by pictures of the individuals enjoying the sun close to their holiday villas; many references to the Costa del Sol; pictures of Iain Duncan Smith; and pictures of a Marina in Puerto Banús, together of course, with those sunlit beaches from around Spain.
Then The Mail began to pay attention to rich individuals who were in receipt of the WFP, just like Lord (Alan) Sugar.
In between, stories started to appear about the WFP being removed from UK Citizens living in 'hot' countries, always associated with some ‘tasty’ quotes from Iain Duncan Smith.
Benefit Cheats publicity: included in headlines: 'Expats', 'sunny Spain', 'Benefit Cheats', 'fun in the sun', 'Costa del Crime is a haven for benefit fraud': 'More than 700 Expats ….', 'Brits abroad cheating the welfare system'. Then under the rich getting benefits: 'Multi-Millionaire Lord Sugar handed £200 a year winter fuel allowance ….'.
Added to by Government statements about the Winter Fuel Payment such as: ‘Iain Duncan Smith is reported to be furious’; ‘Duncan Smith vows to fight ‘ludicrous’ Euro diktat’; ‘sunshine test to stop expats claiming ….’; ‘more than 100,000 expats to lose winter fuel allowance’; IDS to halt winter cash for expat pensioners’; ‘An end to madness of winter fuel cash for expats on Costa del Sol’.
Take a look at the evidence below from the cuttings reproduced, well supported by MAC cartoons, which help to lighten the load. We all enjoy MAC’s cartoons - they make you smile, a lot, but they go right to the heart of the headlines, and may also make you nod or shake your head. Throughout the time The Mail newspapers have run their campaigns against benefit cheats, MAC has reflected those headlines, and we re-produce a selection here - because they illustrate only too well what has emerged which has distressed and disturbed us.
Look carefully at the timelines, in both the cuttings and the cartoons
That was NOT coincidental - IT WAS DELIBERATE!
(A Special Note: To explain our ‘colour coded’ date attachments –
Red for the real villains -
Green for weighted attacks on honest British Pensioners -
Yellow for, well, they’re the neutral ones.)
We know where we stand - we accuse IDS and the DWP of deliberately 'using' The Daily Mail by 'riding in on the back' of their Benefit Cheats campaign to encourage a public perception about UK Pensioners living in the sun, who need heat for their homes in the winter months where they have settled.
Most readers of The Daily Mail, over a period of time, do not read all of the details contained in articles, but they do take in headlines, pictures, cartoons, and very specifically, highlighted statements.
We believe IDS and the DWP wanted the public to see all benefit recipients as ‘Benefit Cheats’ - those breaking the law deliberately, and those, like us, going about our lives claiming a legal entitlement to an 'old-age risk benefit', which, had we remained in the UK, would have been paid to us automatically without question, or challenges, such as having to prove we had a ‘genuine and a sufficient link with the UK’! IDS wanted MPs to have that same perception, and we know from attitudes expressed in letters from some MPs that many were suckered in by this ruthless campaign!
We leave you to make up your mind about the evidence.
We believe it is more than coincidence which influenced
the timing of publicity pursued by IDS and the DWP.
At the end of it all, there is the fact that the amount saved
by IDS was a minute proportion of the overall budget!
Why did he feel so driven to attack us in order to save
0.0o9% of the budget he controlled?
Why did he make us out to be cheats, using words
like ‘absurd’, ‘offensive’ and ‘obscene’?
Sorry, Mr Duncan Smith it is you who is absurd,
offensive, and obscene. Sinking to levels such as
that besmirched the high office you held!
For Truth 4 click here