The Legal Services Department of the DWP has failed to adhere to the directions given by a Crown Court Judge putting them in contempt.
The Department for Works and Pensions took legal action in 2010 but have not yet made charges. The DWP used the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 legislation normally reserved for crimes of terrorism; drugs; prostitution and gun running making accusations of benefits fraud.
Mrs K Hill, a spokesperson for the DWP in her reply to an enquiry made on by an MP says that “all action taken during this investigation, including the use of Management Receivers and the exercise of POCA powers, has been proportionate and necessary as part of the investigative process” and that the investigation is “conducted with due consideration of all legal guidelines and with appropriate guidance from DWP Solicitors”.
Under the powers of POCA, there is an entitlement to £250 each per week for living expenses. This money is paid from the accused own bank accounts and money.
Initially, the DWP failed to make money reliably available for 16 weeks. The situation resulted in an order being made by the Crown Court that the DWP had three days to sort out the living expenses.
Despite this order, the DWP remain unable to make the living expenses reliably available causing extreme duress, financial distress and making it impossible to buy food or to pay utility bills or rent. The cold weather had dire consequences on existing health problems and disabilities resulting in a deterioration as a result.
There had been no income since July 2010 and despite the matter being brought to the attention of the ministers responsible for the DWP, including Gill Aitkin, the Director General of DWP Legal Services; they remain without basic human necessities – the Equalities & Human Rights Commission are taking an interest in the matter as such a situation is clearly not “proportionate and necessary”.
None of those having responsibility for this situation have commented.