Gauke breaks free Universal Credit helpline promise

David Gauke

AWOL DWP Secretary David Gauke has been under heavy fire for the grave failure of Universal Credit (UC) system, for his personal failure to appear in Parliament to defend his department’s performance and to answer to the Commons after the government lost votes – and for the gouging of poor UC claimants who call the UC helpline to find out why they have received no money for weeks on end.

The Tories have also been heavily criticised – after the House of Commons voted to reduce the waiting time imposed on claimants moved onto UC from six weeks to four – for only reducing it to five weeks in this week’s Budget.

So you’d think he’d make sure not to break his and the government’s word on something straightforward to do – and straightforward for others to check on.

But no.

On 18 October, Gauke responded to Labour pressure over the ‘0345’ UC helpline that can cost penniless claimants up to 55p a minute to call, by promising to make the calls free – within a month:

gauke uc line

With this announcement, Gauke set in motion a countdown of not more than 31 days for the change to a freephone number to be implemented.

As of just now, well on the way to six weeks after his promise, this is the ‘Contact Universal Credit’ webpage:

uc 251117

The SKWAWKBOX contacted the DWP to find out why the change had not yet taken place. A DWP spokesperson claimed that the change was not late because Gauke’s promise meant it would be changed by the end of November and that it would still be implemented by then.

But that’s not the usual meaning of ‘over the next month’ said halfway through October – and it would have been perfectly easy for Gauke to say ‘by the end of next month’ if that’s what he meant.

The DWP has only five more days to avoid breaking even the elongated interpretation of a straightforward phrase. Clearly, in the eyes of the DWP, there’s no huge rush to change a system that the man responsible for it has admitted ‘burdens’ poor claimants.

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  1. Just another thing that should make it clear to people that you can’t trust the tories.

  2. Government is a matter of trust.

    This incompetent Tory government can’t even be trusted to complete a simple task like changing the cost of a telephone call.

    Bloody useless.

    1. Even if you choose to ignore what he actually said why would a government that has clearly acknowledged that the current system is causing claimants hardship choose to extend that hardship for as long as possible?

  3. Even looking like Jimmy Carr’s “brother from another mother” doesn’t humanise him at all, does it?
    Like he’s just climbed out of the pod & can’t quite work the mouth yet.

    1. Haha!

      When I first see the photo I thought it WAS jimmy carr, doing a (cack) mussolini impression 🙂

  4. It almost seems as if they just want to extend their collective cruelty for as long as possible
    There’s something very wrong with these people . . . .

  5. Hey Skwarkbox, Namaste 🙂

    The DWP are solely motivated by the requirement to save money not pay it out…it is a mentality focussed on looking for discrepancy and/or reason to restrict a claim and/or issue a punishment: and in all ways carry out the full requirement of government policy whilst people die on UK streets or in the metaphorical gutter outside JCP Offices. Meanwhile DWP insists that the organisation is exemplary as it does a sterling job of remaining complicit through impartiality in perpetuating needless brutality imposed on the most vulnerable in society by administering policies served by a tyrannical fascist regime. Staff working for the DWP must be witness to perpetual despair and suffering yet are obliged by an oppressive code of conduct that restricts them from speaking out or expressing their truth publically. DWP do nothing say nothing and even when evidence builds and builds demonstrating political incompetence and ineffective governance at the highest level they still find someone willing to be paid to protect the illusion that DWP are focussed on the public! Not even a fecking apology from DWP for their failure, which is something else the DWP do very well, they never apologise or say sorry…they daren’t admit being wrong for that would make them and the government either human or liable: but then again they are long-standing comfortable bedfellows eager to develop legislation to thieve evermore from the vulnerable whilst lawyers protect political and financial interests and people’s knighthoods. The UK Social Security System fails time and time again to deliver morality or ethics. The System is degenerate, unfit for purpose, inhumane and desperate.

    The UK is in a dire mess politically: one gets the impression that conservatism is now heavily influenced by fascist mentality and it will progress further like a disease unless there is a Socialist Red Revolution…a balanced and measured response to right-wing enthusiasm, non-violent but very effective. The opinion polls suggest the public demand change. We the UK tax-payer who pay for the privilege of being led by self-serving incompetence, we demand change and we are getting fecking tired of waiting for that to happen. So come on Corbyn before it’s too late: it’s time to drown the rapscallion Tories in the Whitehall bilge water before they again ask ordinary men and women working for the DWP to administer policies that have potential to cause un-necessary suffering, increased anxiety, depression, despair, pain, and possibly death.

    It never ceases to amaze me Skwarkbox why Human Rights Lawyers are not actively hustling hassling lobbying or screaming blue-murder aching to get their claws deep into this government’s twisted governance of Social Security provision in the UK. It is in an atrocious mess and people are genuinely suffering as is the UK in general of course: and more importantly the land that I live in Wales is suffering at the hands of disinterest and abandonment beyond their borders. It’s time for Welsh devolution as well.

    Namaste 🙂


  6. Far from being shamed into changing it immediately, they’ve been as brazen as to hold out for as long as possible and fleece as many of the poorest as they can.

    Don’t be surprised if it goes on well into December (And possibly beyond)

  7. You must have some influence Mr Squawk. The freephone started today. It doesn’t seem to have been announced publicly
    Numbers are:
    Live service: 0800 328 9344
    Full service 0800 328 5644
    Transfers line 0800 328 7844

    1. It is despicable that the DWP obviously made the decision to extend the suffering of claimants. How much longer would they have taken if their callous indifference hadn’t been exposed on this forum

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