Cllr Pugh: IW Conservatives support Police/DWP Benefit vehicle stops

Council leader says that the Island Conservatives support drivers being stopped and questioned by benefit fraud investigators in the “crackdown to identify potential fraud”.

David Pugh

Following yesterday’s condemnation by Island Labour of the police operation which stopped drivers on the Isle of Wight who were then questioned by benefit fraud investigators and council officers, Cllr David Pugh, with his IW Conservatives hat on, got in touch with a response.

Cllr David Pugh told On The Wight, “The culture of benefit dependency soared under the Labour Government, so it is little surprise that their local representatives are opposed to firm action to tackle benefit fraud.

“The Island Conservatives fully support the crackdown to identify potential fraud cases, and we will continue to support IW Council officers and other agencies in taking such steps.”

25 benefit fraud investigations sparked by the operation
He went on to say, “The fact that 25 benefit fraud investigations were sparked by the operations shows that this has been a worthwhile exercise. These could amount to 25 thefts of taxpayers’ money which may not have been identified if the Island Labour Party had their way. It is clear whose side they are on.

“All hard-working, honest Island taxpayers should have nothing to fear from such operations continuing to take place in order to identify the small minority of people who are abusing the benefits system.”

Tuesday, 4th December, 2012 6:20pm



Filed under: Island-wide, Isle of Wight Council, Law & Order, Top story

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Any views or opinions presented in the comments below are solely those of the author and do not represent those of OnTheWight.


  1. “Well- he would say that wouldn’t he!” :-))

    • Typical response from a despotic dictator. No qualms with benefit fraudsters being brought to book but to get the police to do it in this way is totally reminscent of the fascist dictatorships of the 1930s.

  2. DP doesn’t seem to have read the comments on the previous topic regarding this operation! I refer him to them.

    This is another example of ineffective tit-for-tat from him, instead of a response that addresses concerns. He implies that the Labour Party are all in favour of fraud!

    By the way, what is “potential” fraud? Unless the DWP had crystal balls with them, presumably fraud that hasn’t happened, & may not ever occur.

  3. Island Monkey

    4.Dec.2012 6:47pm

    What a ***t this bloke is. Had he stayed on at either of the two universities he attended – he may have found time learned a few lessons from history.

    He might also get some better legal advice. The operation supported by the Tories was unlawful. You cannot stop people randomly and demand papers.

    As for the local Tories – which party do you think the bankers supported? Which party do the people responsible for the largest abuses of the public purse through offshore tax avoidance schemes support? Er, could it be the Tory party?

    The odd few dodgy geezers doing a bit of cash in hand whilst in receipt of benefits is dwarfed by the millions avoided by the richest.

  4. Island Monkey

    4.Dec.2012 6:54pm

    Perhaps the next crackdown could be launched investigating former council officers in receipt of pensions setting up personal service companies to avoid tax and NI?

    • And to hang on to those pensions, entitlement to which depended on their not having other (payroll) jobs! As I recall, Mr Pugh defended those arrangements and still does in the case of Dave Burbage (Ltd).

  5. Astonishing. That is the most juvenile and arrogant argument I believe I have ever read by a local council leader.
    How on earth did Councillor Pugh come to the conclusion that Isle of Wight Labour Party members are opposed to tackling benefit fraud?
    His comments are insulting and I think less of Councillor Pugh for making them and invite him to reconsider his words and apologise.

  6. Spot on Island Monkey. I suggest they stand outside the doors of County Hall (or outside the lift of the relevant floor), & make that very check for “company employed”, highly paid managers & directors who are not entitled to get out of paying tax & NI, as well as seeking out “potential” expense account frauds.

  7. This is targeted at the poor!Infringement of Civil Liberties!

  8. Sorry to be posting so much, but I’ve just registered that according to DP it is only “All hard-working, honest Island taxpayers [who] should have nothing to fear..” Presumably benefit claimants, on the other hand, deserve whatever they get, simply because they are claiming.

    Claimants(very often)are not in work, nor (very often) taxpayers. It’s as though DP despises benefit claimants in general, not just the tiny number who abuse the system.

    So many obnoxious comments within so few sentences from our ‘leader’!

    • Be pleased! The Boy Pugh is digging his political grave on the Island with his mouth! :-))

      • steephilljack

        5.Dec.2012 7:43am

        Sad to say, but I think his statement will find a lot of supporters among the hard-working Island tax payers.
        I don’t suppose he has to pay tax on his allowances of £35,370, does he ?
        Perhaps he should say “Tough on claimants and the causes of claimants” and then get the schools improved from bottom place so that our school-leavers have a better chance of finding work.
        My neighbours (one is a teacher) have just moved to the mainland because their kids schools are so bad !

  9. prewitt parrot

    4.Dec.2012 8:02pm

    Pugh’s outburst is childish and quite frankly pathetic. He has embarrassed himself and set himself up for ridicule, once again. Is he suggesting that the only way his officers are able to detect potential benefit fraud is to stop random vehicles in the street? He has been the leader of this Council for three and a half years so if his far fetched claims stood up to rational scrutiny, which they don’t, they would have in fact occurred on his watch.

  10. Mr Pugh, just a few facts for you to think about.
    This island has high unemployment and, of those who do manage to find work, most work for minimum/lower than average wages, therefore quite a large proportion of islanders are benefit claimants in one way or another.

    The island labour party are not on the side of fraudsters, they are on the side of the (financially) poor working class and those in need, the old, young, sick and disabled.

    You claim that any hard-working, honest tax payer has nothing to fear from these roadside checks. That is what your (not so) wonderful tory government said to the many genuine sick/disabled people regarding health checks by ATOS and look how many genuine sick/disabled people have died soon after being deemed ‘fit to work’, the government’s own figures are 70+ PER WEEK.

    Finally, there are rules that DWP have to abide by and I am sure that these roadside interviews put them on very dodgy ground legally. Perha

  11. mike starke

    4.Dec.2012 9:07pm

    Cllr David Pugh, who receives nearly double the average Island wage out of taxpayers’ cash for what used to be voluntary community service as a councillor, says: “The fact that 25 benefit investigations were sparked by the operations shows that this has been a worthwhile exercise. These could amount to 25 thefts of taxpayers’ money.”

    Well, at least we know where he stands on the British legal system that, for centuries, has held that a citizen of this country accused of a crime was innocent until proven guilty.

    FACT: The majority of the nation’s benefit spending bill – £74.22bn – goes in state pensions, like mine. I worked nearly half a century, paying weekly National Insurance “premiums” to earn it. Housing benefit, the usual whipping boy in the sights of rabble rousers like Commissar Pughtin, accounts for just £16.94bn.

    I resent the implicit slur that I and the rest of my generation are “scroungers”, since we account for so much of our council leader’s precious “hard-working, honest taxpayers’ money”, presumably for just lounging around waiting to do the decent thing and die.

    In any event, his views on this subject ring hollow from someone with a life experience of the world of work that is, to say the least, a tad limited.

    Perhaps his most worthwhile contribution to this debate would be to keep us informed as to how many successful prosecutions result from the super snoopers’ roadside swoops.

    In the meantime, he might like to reserve his public statements to subjects about which he has some qualification to speak. In which case, we should hear little from him.

  12. The more often I read Councillor Pugh’s words the more incredulous I become…. “All hard-working, honest Island taxpayers should have nothing to fear….”
    Does he include his Conservative ally Andrew Turner MP who is claiming £20,000 a year from those same ‘hard-working honest taxpayers’ for a rented flat in London when he owns one nearby?
    It’s not illegal but it’s highly offensive and sticks in my craw.

  13. Does any of you hear the echoing bells of Pugh/Morgan Hughes???? Do any of you remember the days when Morgan Hughes done his best to demolish everything to make it a car park (more council revenue). Oh and what a bonus he even became a top guy at southern vectis (and made a good package out of that). Wake up Isle of Wight!!!!

  14. Island Monkey

    4.Dec.2012 10:59pm

    Mike Starke is being a tad harsh. I believe David did once have a proper job – in a stationers.

    On that basis I think perhaps he should confine his comments on his area of true expertise. Pencils, envelopes and reams of A4.

  15. Looks like we need some assistance. Anyone seen Watt Tyler lately? In his day, certain councillors would have their heads on poles.

  16. adrian nicholas

    5.Dec.2012 7:16am

    I’d note that today the term ‘fraudster’ and ‘criminal’ is relativist- and seems allowed a certain ‘legality’ to tory non-dom cronies and the this coalitions socially criminal policies.
    Indeed, David Pugh’s Tory party electoral local police commissioner, Michael Mates, certainly makes a fine upstanding example!

  17. This is typical of tories. Public servants out on the streets coming the heavy on benefit claimants while the likes of the Carlton Club clique quietly shuffle their millions around Europe or some tropical paradise to save a fortune in tax.

    Edmund Coke summed it up brilliantly:

    The law doth punish man or woman, who steals a goose from off the common.

    But lets the greater felon loose, who steals the common from the goose.

  18. Is David Pugh planning on standing as the next Police and Crime Commissioner? Looks like it to me. Perhaps someone should remind him that he has a job to do here on the Island as Council Leader rather than acting as some self appointed Policeman Plod. This once again shows his inexperience and lack of judgement.

  19. If I don’t ever see again that photo of DP at the top of this topic, it will be much, much too soon ……….! Nothing against OTW, it’s about the look on his face……

    • Janet Scott

      5.Dec.2012 12:54pm

      tryme, if only I could give you 50
      ‘arrows up’ I would. That’s how strongly
      I agree with you.

    • prewitt parrot

      5.Dec.2012 4:08pm

      [Comment removed by moderator]

      • Prewitt Parrot you have a couple of green arrows but I actually find your comment about his looks quite insulting. Perhaps it’s the generation I come from but it’s not particularly pleasant.

        • I’m usually hot on nasty personal remarks,sam salt, & would agree with you they should be avoided, but in this case I myself don’t feel that threshold was crossed.

          • Fair comment tryme, suppose we are all different that’s why you get a good balanced view on here. TO be fair I have never heard David Pugh attack people on their looks which can’t be helped although some of his comments can be more than nasty at times.

        • prewitt parrot

          5.Dec.2012 6:11pm

          His cheeks are wider than his fore head, its an observation which you took as an insult sam
          The Humpty Dumpty comparison was a metaphor as Pugh isn’t fat, but the attitude example I feel was accurate. Pugh is a power hungry little no account, he is trying to imitate the rhetoric of the nasty party hierarchy as his sole intention is to climb that ladder, although of course he isn’t intelligent enough. But that rhetoric doesn’t work on a local level as firstly he is unable to control the local media, or ignore our response because the electorate will read it and are likely to be influenced, hence his response to the criticisms in this case. And secondly the Island has been ruled by either Tories or Lib Dems for ages, they are to blame for the state of things here not labour.

      • Sally Perry

        5.Dec.2012 7:14pm

        Personal comments (whether they are an observation or insult) are not acceptable or appropriate to any discussion and will be removed.

        • Well done Sally! Attacking a person’s policies is fair game, attacking his/her appearance is not (IMHO).

          • prewitt parrot

            5.Dec.2012 7:37pm

            “Be pleased! The Boy Pugh is digging his political grave on the Island with his mouth”

            Boy Pugh?

          • Long-term political soubriquet referring to YOUTH not appearance. It was made famous by Michael Foot in the Commons on 28/3/79 in a debate on a vote of no-confidence in the Callagan government. “What the right hon. Lady (Thatcher) has done today is to lead her troops into battle snugly concealed behind a Scottish nationalist shield, with the BOY David (Steel) holding her hand.’ Steel, he added, had ’passed from rising hope to elder statesman without any intervening period whatsoever’.

            Steel was then Leader of the LibDems and the “Boy David” tag still haunts him today even as Lord Steel of Aikwood.

          • Well cynic,(posting below),I would say that calling David Steel ‘Boy’ was clearly a put-down on account of his appearance, belittling his youthful looks. This went on for years, despite his increasing age.

            I don’t think anyone can say that it’s any different about DP – it’s about his boyish appearance. Someone else of his age but looking more mature, would not be called a ‘boy’…

            I blame myself for this diversion, as I referred to
            “the look on his face”, from whence all this followed. Sorry about that…..

          • prewitt parrot

            5.Dec.2012 8:09pm

            Pugh is 32 years old, I think anyone under that age could find your use of the term offensive and patronising. I think you have dual standards.

          • David Steel was 41 when it was applied to him. It referred to his relative political inexperience. When first elected MP, Steel was 27 and termed by the “Baby of the House” by MPs.

            “On assuming the role of Council leader he (David Pugh) became the youngest local authority leader in the UK, and he remains the youngest member of the Isle of Wight Council.”

            It also seems that his political experience prior to returning to the Island was limited to working for four years in the Conservative Central Office. (Wiki)

            Thus I suggest that relative youth coupled with political inexperience are (as with Steel at the time) valid subjects for debate about a leading politician at any level.

          • prewitt parrot

            5.Dec.2012 9:30pm

            “The Principal Boy part is a shoo-in for a certain politician and we are spoilt for choice for those to fill the Villain’s role! :-))”

            What has this got to do with political inexperience then? The priciple boy is traditionally played by a young actress in boy’s clothes.

        • Fair enough- I withdraw the “Boy” soubriquet and apologise for any offense its use might have caused.

  20. Ah, yes, the pantomime season is now well under way.

    We already have Dick Turpin running the Highways department and I think this is a late bid to be the chorus leader, as in
    “labour supports the scroungers”

    “oh no we don’t” (or maybe we do)

    but then that wasn’t the question was it?

    Let’s not let a slagging off opportunity get in the way of civil liberties.

  21. Black Dog

    5.Dec.2012 10:15am

    Once again we hear from a man who takes every opportunity to attack people who are unable to defend themselves.

    Let me put you straight Mr Pugh, had it not been for your meddling based on unqualified facts drawn up by unqualified colleagues and officers on closures of a number of public services and your continued, unfathomable, support for Wightlink Ferries the Island would without doubt have more people in employment now.

    Lets face facts, a car is stopped the driver is spoken to by the police about an alleged motoring offence, then other agencies question the driver about benefits etc – So when and how does that result in catching a benefit fraudster? Does he or she say Fair Cop Guv and give themselves up? Or do the agencies have details of the potential benefit fraudsters? If the council know the target why not tackle it at the source? Could it be because they are incompetent? run by incompetence and have atotally incompetent Council Leader?


    Remember, Boy Blunder, People in glass houses should not throw stones

  22. Perhaps Pugh will resign at the very last moment he can before the elections, (along with those in his band who haven’t already declared themselves out). This could lull people into voting Tory again, with a crop of new faces to look at.

    What is the simple message that we can all spread round as regards voting? Will ‘Vote for anyone as long as they’re not Tory’ work? Would the numbers stack up? (I’m very naiive about this).

    Because, we need these people out but we don’t want open warfare of allegiances between Labour, Indies & Lib Dems, (politicians & punters like us). That would turn many of us off. Can those 2 parties & the Indies convince us they would pull out the stops to show us an adult manner of working together for the good of the Island?

    Would they refuse to let the Tories in opposition drag them down into just the same childish, squabbling behavior that we have been getting from Pugh et al? What a disappointment that would be.

  23. tulsevent

    5.Dec.2012 11:35am

    Re picture: The sun always shines on the richeous and Davy Pugh.

  24. “Perhaps Pugh will resign at the very last moment”

    Along with Beynon? They could tour as a double-act; there must be a few few end-of-the-pier shows left that need an injection of comedy, and it would give the audience a great opportunity to throw stuff…

  25. retiredhack

    5.Dec.2012 1:23pm

    I would like to know exactly how the police became involved in this political stunt, and how they justify it. The official line in that the police “invited” the Council and DWP to join them, but that doesn’t, of course, tell us whose idea it was. Certainly the conversation could have been along the lines of: “Why don’t you (police) invite us to join you…?”

    The police will doubtless say that from time to time they take part in multi-agency operations to catch criminals, working with, say, HMRC or the UK Border Agency. The difference here, though, is that what’s happened is clearly a fishing expedition which by its nature has involved many more perfectly innocent people that any offenders they might – might – have found. It’s completely disproportionate, reminding me of the “Sus” laws of the 1970s which caused so much hostility towards the police.

    The new Hants and IW Police and Crime Commissioner, Simon Hayes, who used to be a Tory but presumably quit or was thrown out when he decided to run as an independent, should be asked to look at this and bang some heads together. He should tell the IW police commander that Pugh’s shameless march towards Westminster, clambering over the backs of the poor and the unemployed on the way, doesn’t need a blue light.

  26. What an absolutely disgraceful set of remarks from Pugh.
    The Labour party has NEVER condoned benefit fraud.

    How would he have reacted if the police had stopped drivers and asked them to produce evidence of their income tax payments? This is a blatant example of just how hypocritical any Tory is when it comes to so-called benefit fraud.

    Mind you, if the police had charged him with breach of the peace after his Cowes week disgrace (as would have happened to any member of the public who didn’t happen to be Council Leader) we might have been spared his inane comments.

    • prewitt parrot

      5.Dec.2012 6:41pm

      Also behaving in a manner likely to cause alarm, harassment or distress to others. Which not only caused distress to his victims but due to the police inaction it also had a detrimental effect on the local community as a whole.

    • steephilljack

      5.Dec.2012 8:44pm

      David Pugh brings our Council and our Island into disrepute. He must be abandoned and the Conservative Party should be the first to do it, in their own interest, before the election in May.

  27. Robert Jones

    5.Dec.2012 3:59pm

    This is a completely shameful statement in so many ways, and frankly Cllr Pugh might consider getting a real job himself before criticizing people on benefits.
    On a single matter of fact, he is wrong; “benefit dependency”, whatever he means by that, did not “soar”, or even increase, under the last Labour government. A government by the way for which I have little sympathy, but I’d still prefer that people didn’t make up stories about it.

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