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30 January 2008
Whilst we modestly refrain from taking all the credit, Benefits and Work is delighted that, following our written request that he do so, Peter Hain has resigned as Secretary of State for Work and Pensions.

His announcement came following receipt of our anti ministerial fraud poster and the decision of the Electoral Commission to refer his deputy leadership donations to the police

Members of Benefits and Work will recall that last month we created our own state of the art poster, borrowing only slightly from the DWP’s own fraud campaign. We sent a copy of this poster to Mr Hain along with our letter pointing out that he risked being labelled as a hypocrite if he continued to expect higher standards of financial disclosure from claimants than from himself. Whilst we have not yet received a reply from the former secretary of state we have no reason to doubt that our image and words weighed heavy on his conscience.

The discredited Mr Hain has now been replaced by former Culture Secretary James Purnell. It seems extremely unlikely that there will be any resulting change of policy at the DWP. However, it does seem probable that Mr Purnell, who sat on the work and pensions committee and was pensions minister under Tony Blair, will have a better grasp of the benefits system than Peter Hain ever managed to acquire. But then, clearly, figures were never Mr Hain’s best subject.

© 2008 Steve Donnison