Monday, 27 July 2009

DWP - Dumb, We Proud!

BBC Story 27th July 2009‏
From: Illinois Cook (
Sent: 27 July 2009 11:43:34
Cc:; Esmee Russell (; Maria Dillon (

Dear Sir/Madam,

In the following story:

A spokesman from your department is quoted as countering the EC’s figures about poverty amoung UK elderly.

Firstly a claim is made by your department that ‘even the poorest UK pensioners were better off than those living in other countries’.

Since the EC figures show that the poorest UK pensioners are living in poverty, the poorest of these are undoubtedly living in dire straits. Add to this the obvious difficulties in the definitions involved, and this claim is clearly at best nonsense and at worst misleading.

The second claim, from a DWP ‘spokesman’ is quoted as follows:

"In 1997 our pensioners' income was well below the European average. Today their income is nearly 10% higher than the EU average."

Again, since the EC figures show that a high percentage of our pensioners are living in poverty, and poverty is measured after incomes, this does not contradict the EC figures at all.

Indeed, if as I suspect the percentages given in the previous quote are average figures, then it seems the DWP doesn’t care about the poorest UK pensioners at all.

It would seem that although we have gone from having incomes well below the European average, to incomes higher than the average, 1 in five of our pensioners are skipping meals to save money, and the level of old age poverty in the UK is 50% higher than most leading European economies, as is mentioned elsewhere in the BBC report.

Would you agree with me that the DWP response is therefore a highly embarrassing one, and one which brings your department into disrepute?

Yours sincerely,

Illinois Cook

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