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DWP Admits Making Up Quotes By Benefit Claimants Showing That Sanctions Were Helpful

August 18, 2015

The Department for Work and Pensions has admitted making up comments from supposed “benefit claimants” that appeared in a leaflet about sanctions.

The leaflet, which has now been withdrawn, included positive example stories from people who claimed to have interacted with the sanctions system.

In one example, titled “Sarah’s story”, a jobseeker is quoted as being “really pleased” that a cut to her benefits supposedly encouraged her to re-draft her CV.

“It’s going to help me when I’m ready to go back to work,” the fabricated quote reads.

Another, by a benefit claimant supposedly called “Zac”, details the sanctions system working well.

But in response to a freedom of information request by the Welfare Weekly website the DWP said the quotes were not actually real cases and that the photos were not of real claimants.

  The leaflet shows a claimant pleased with the outcome of their sanction “The photos used are stock photos and along with the names do not belong to real claimants. The stories are for illustrative purposes only,” the department said.

The leaflet, a copy of which is available in full at Welfare Weekly, contains no suggestion that the stories are not real.

The revelation is controversial because the sanctions system has been criticised for causing extreme hardship and being operated in an unfair and arbitrary way.

The MPs said there was evidence that the benefit cuts for unemployed people caused more problems than they solved and might be “purely punitive”.

Previous widely-criticised decisions include people being sanctioned for missing jobcentre appointments because they had to attend a job interview, or people sanctioned for not looking for work because they had already secured a job due to start in a week’s time.

In one case a man with heart problems was sanctioned because he had a heart attack during a disability benefits assessment and thus failed to complete the assessment.

Charities including Crisis and the Joseph Rowntree Foundation say the sanctions are responsible for a significant increase in homelessness and rough sleeping in Britain under David Cameron’s government.

Mark Serwotka, the general secretary of the PCS union, told the Independent that the department’s actions were “sinister”.

  Another example shows the system working well “It’s disgraceful and sinister that DWP has been trying to trick people into believing claimants are happy to have their benefits stopped or threatened. Sanctions are unnecessarily punitive and counterproductive, and should be scrapped,” he said.

The DWP added in the FOI response to the website: “We want to help people understand when sanctions can be applied and how they can avoid them by taking certain actions. Using practical examples can help us achieve this.

“We have temporarily changed the pictures to silhouettes and added a note to make it more clear that these are illustrative examples only.

“We will test both versions of the factsheet with claimants and external stakeholders to further improve it in the future. This will include working with external organisations.”

The Independent contacted the Department for Work and Pensions for additional comment on this story.

6 Comments leave one →
  1. August 18, 2015 3:19 pm

    Here we go again. Let’s attack the feckless unemployed. The sick, lame and lazy.
    Don’t forget the Mentalists, the Nutter’s and the Freaks, Feeble Minded and the Morally Deviant Single Mother.
    Let’s attack anyone but the people who got us into this mess in the first place. Let’s resume the demonization of the weakest in this wonderland of political utopia. Let’s get one figure higher that will make a difference. Let’s make suicide a viable alternative. Now that will make a difference and cost us “nothing governor”. Now that’s a real return to true core conservative values.

    We have squeezed them until the pips squeak, what next ?, “oh yes we have a solution it’s tried tested and really works, been around for as long as anyone can remember and will be all that is required and be true to our true blue political ideology”,
    Now we need a name, what about the DWP solutions. No sound too much like a government department. What about “mortem sibi conscivit solution” a nice Latin word that the sniveling upper class will understand, maybe, well maybe not. What about words that the ones who were being “Jolly well Rodgerd by the prefects” and missed Latin classes. Well ok I’ve got it, silly me it has had a name all along, great let’s go with this.

    FINAL AND UNIVERSALLY ACCESSIBLE SOLUTION.
    Of Couse it will be acceptable the shorten it to
    “THE FINAL SOLUTION” to save paper and for the snivelers from Eaton to remember.
    Now that sounds like a spiffing idea, don’t ya’r know!
    I like many others because of mental and physical illnesses and the constant bullying from the “snouts in the trough inbred ruling political classes” have nothing more to give and we are at the end of our metaphorical ropes.

    Many like myself despite overwhelming evidence from doctor’s reports and other medical professional opinions are routinely dismissed as if they were liars, cheats, scroungers, work shy, criminals, malingers, need I go on any further, you get the picture painted by the Department of Benefit Denial. (DBD)

    It is the not being believed that is the worst pain imaginable to anyone who has the misfortune to be dragged through “the system”. As we try as best we can to explain our illness. But it soon becomes apparent that whatever evidence is produced the final outcome has already been decided by monetary policy and denial is now the norm alongside a total lack of compassion. At every turn of a news page we are pilloried by a press and government who are in terminal moral panic and decline. We are now, as one of the many groups suffering from the backlash of hate stirred up by the main protagonists, are becoming very afraid and see death ether by lack of care or by our own hand as our only viable alternatives.It only takes one letter or phone call from the DWP or comment from press or government indoctrinated individuals to push us over the ultimate cliff. Believe me I have been there myself on many occasions and only by my own ineptitude am able to write this now.

    I was one told by a professional that to commit suicide was my choice, if I thought it was the right thing to do and no one could stop me. Is doing the right thing what this eugenics led government want us to do for the good of the “Hard working tax paying families who get up early and trudge through the snow to get to work on a minimum wage zero hours contract”?
    If we don’t or can’t do the right thing will the government ultimately assist us? If we won’t do the right thing what then, will we see the UK’s own final solution implemented?
    We now have forced labor for the sick and disable via the insidious workfare by any other name. Denial of benefit using sanctions and Civil Penalty Notices without the right of hearing and applied by a decision maker on the flimsiest and pettiest of transgressions.
    We had until the late seventy’s Government Training & Rehabilitation Centers that by compulsory attendance under threat of denial of benefit, housing and removal of children into care forced the indoctrination of the unemployed into the so called ethics of work and hard labour.

    So as we now have the right mood in our country for the have and have not’s, the Skivers against the Strives, the ill versus able-bodied and the idle rich against the plebs. If we have the forced labor and the training camps is the ultimately the final solution not that far away.
    NOW THAT SOUND LIKE A MASTER PLAN

    Tommaz Jay

    Ashamed and frightened to be a member of the society that once cared and now wallows in its own putrid excrement.

  2. Jeffery Davies permalink
    August 18, 2015 3:43 pm

    Action t4 jeff3

  3. August 18, 2015 8:28 pm

    Reblogged this on Britain Isn't Eating.

  4. August 18, 2015 8:37 pm

    Reblogged this on Snailzpace Daily and commented:
    Sanctions weren’t helpful to me, ill, certified unfit for work, appeal issues waiting and still expected to cope with JSA claim. The shame of having to borrow from my pensioner mother with cancer for being able to reach a food bank or collect what little local authority help might have been available. And I’m one of the lucky ones who could scrape alternative help and barely survive without state help at a time of extreme need. Another friend on ESA assessment almost froze and starved for 6 months with no ESA! The UK government is disgusting for allowing jobsworth managers to bully staff to deprive vulnerable people so the state books can be well cooked while disadvantaged people starve and suffer – when will they admit how many died for their policies?

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