Yesterday, we reported on allegations of how a close aide of Duncan Smith threatened the Trussell Trust with being shut down.
There appears to be more to government dirty tactics than a verbal threat.
The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) altered vouchers in such a way that it became impossible to track the issuing of vouchers which related to problems within the benefit system.
Previously, the vouchers contained check boxes for the reason the person had been referred. These included ‘benefit delay’, ‘benefit change’, and ‘refusal of crisis loan’. Food banks were then able to collect data and analyse the reasons people were referred to them.
By removing the check boxes it is no longer possible to highlight whether the difficulties faced by those referred are directly linked with the government’s welfare reform agenda.
The change happened one month after the alleged threat by one of Duncan Smith’s aides, and both the alleged threat and voucher change were made at a time when DWP ministers were irritated by the publicity food banks were receiving, and the links made to (and criticism of) the government’s reforms.
Chris Mould, chairman of the Trussell Trust, told The Independent at the time the couchers were changed “…people are being sent by jobcentres to food banks without an indication of the reason for the crisis so that the Trussell Trust cannot be sure that the need is genuine or keep track of the different reasons why people need emergency food”.
The government is denying that the threat to the Trussel Trust happened, or that the change in vouchers was a dirty tactic to take some of the heat out of the barrage of criticism they received over welfare reforms.
We wouldn’t really expect anything else from blatant liars and manipulators.
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