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Christian campaign group welcomes ban of 'misleading' Universal Credit ads

The adverts, part of a £225,000 Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) campaign to detoxify universal credit appeared in the Metro newspaper and on its website, as well as on the Mail Online, in May and June.

In the adverts, it claimed people moved into work faster on universal credit than under the old system, however, the ASA said this could not be substantiated.

The ASA received 44 complaints about six newspaper adverts and a web page, one of the complainants was from Christian charity The Trussell Trust who objected to "misleading" claims.

Rev Paul Nicholson, founder of campaign group Taxpayers Against Poverty has been campaigning against poverty for over forty years, he told Premier: "The adverts were very misleading and I can quite understand the way that the ASA has gone the way it has.

There are so many difficulties all tied up with local authorities and the DWP, it's a complex scene and often massively oppressive, but I am absolutely delighted the ASA has come down so heavily on the DWP."

The ASA said: "We considered that readers would understand the claim to mean that under UC the option to have rent paid directly to landlords was generally available without restriction to all claimants who wanted it."

It banned four of the newspaper ads and the web page from appearing again in the form complained about, and said it had told the DWP to ensure it had "adequate evidence to substantiate the claims in its advertising" as well as presenting "significant conditions" to its claims clearly.

In a statement, the Department for Work and Pensions said: "We are disappointed with this decision and have responded to the Advertising Standards Authority.

"We consulted at length with the ASA as we created the adverts, which have explained to hundreds of thousands of people how universal credit is helping more than 2.5 million people across the country."

 Listen to Premier's Heather Preston speaking with Rev Nicholson here: 

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