DWP Universal Credit loophole will be 'closed' and claimants lose right to benefits

A Department for Work and Pensions Universal Credit shake up plans could see violent criminals lose right to benefits. The DWP loophole in the benefits system is allowing killers to claim support, such as Universal Credit, it has emerged.

Nottingham killer Valdo Calocane is among dozens of convicted violent criminals in a secure hospital allowed to claim state benefits under a policy that Labour on Monday pledged to review. A Freedom of Information (FoI) carried out by The Telegraph found that Calocane and almost 80 killers detained at Ashworth secure hospital in Merseyside are receiving thousands of pounds in Universal Credit, and Employment and Support Allowance (ESA).

A spokesperson for the party told The Telegraph: "If we are privileged to come into power, Labour would urgently look at this case, including talking to the victims’ families.” Mel Stride, the Work and Pensions Secretary, is reportedly "very concerned" about the case and has ordered a review into Calocane's case.

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Emma Webber, Barnaby's mother, spoke on behalf of the victims' families and asserted that the UK's "criminal justice system is broken". She added: "We support any incoming government to address these as a matter of urgency."

Julian Hendy, from the Hundred Families charity, which supports families after mental health related homicides said: “It’s indefensible for convicted dangerous offenders who have committed the most serious of crimes to be rewarded with benefit payments.

“It’s particularly wrong that such offenders can, over the years, accrue many thousands of pounds in taxpayer-funded payments when they have no expenses, whilst their victims struggle to access effective long-term care and support.

“It is a slap in the face for bereaved families. It’s not right and needs to change. We are calling on the new government to commit to correcting this wrong. By our calculations many millions of pounds could be saved and much better spent on victim services or more assertive care for people with serious mental illness to prevent further, avoidable tragedies.”