TV Ads 'Make Fraud Look Easy'; GOVERNMENT'S [pound]4.5M CAMPAIGN IS ACCUSED OF GLAMOURISING THE BENEFIT CHEATS
Lewis, Jason, The Mail on Sunday (London, England)
Byline: JASON LEWIS
A SERIES of multimillion pound television advertisements aimed at exposing social security benefit cheats have been condemned as actually making fraud more likely.
Research on the effectiveness of the adverts, screened nationwide last month as part of a campaign costing about [pound]4.5 million, revealed they glamorised the fraud - which costs the country an estimated [pound]2 billion a year - and made it seem easy to get away with.
Feedback on a pilot scheme using the same adverts in the North-West of England and published by the Department of Social Security in the Commons Library showed that the campaign had failed to hit its targets.
One advert depicted a glamorous young woman returning to work after a shopping spree.
Her boss asks: 'Where have you been, I thought you were just nipping out to sign on?' She replies with a laugh: 'It's pay day,' before carrying on with her work.
The second advert showed a young man being dropped off outside a pub by a builder's van and handed a roll of banknotes by his boss. …