Ipswich Unemployed Action.

Campaigning for Unemployed Rights.

DWP: Benefits Cuts Fine with Us Say Sanctioned Claimants.

with 22 comments

All credit to Welfare Weekly who broke this story:

Exclusive: DWP Admits Using Fake Claimant’s Comments In Benefit Sanctions Leaflet.

Government officials have admitted that claimant’s comments used in an official benefit sanctions information leaflet were “for illustrative purposes only”.

The revelation comes in response to a Freedom of Information (FOI) request from Welfare Weekly, in which we questioned whether the comments used in the leaflet were of a genuine or fake nature.

Welfare Weekly asked the DWP to provide any evidence or information to prove that the comments used in the publication were from “genuine” claimants.

Within days of submitting our request to the DWP, the original information leaflet suddenly disappeared from the government’s website without explanation.

However, we had already downloaded a copy of the leaflet (pdf) in anticipation of the response to our FOI request.

The story is now all across the media.

METRO FRONT PAGE: 'Department for Work and Invention' #skypapers

The Guardian reports,

The DWP was asked by the specialist website Welfare Weekly whether the comments used were from benefit claimants. Following their query, which was made under the Freedom of Information Act, the original leaflet was taken down from the DWP’s site and replaced with one that illustrated Zac and Sarah only in silhouette.

That was accompanied by a clarifying note that said: “The people in this factsheet aren’t real. We’ve used these stories to show how sanctions can work in practice.” However, that second leaflet was also deleted on Tuesday evening.

Responding to Welfare Weekly’s FoI request, the DWP conceded that: “The photos used are stock photos and along with the names do not belong to real claimants. The stories are for illustrative purposes only.

“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.

Labour leadership candidates condemned the department for producing the leaflet , with Andy Burnham saying the DWP had been “caught red-handed”, and Yvette Cooper and Liz Kendall calling on the work and pensions secretary, Iain Duncan Smith, to apologise.
Jeremy Corbyn said: “The fact that the DWP has to make up quotes from benefit claimants saying sanctions are helping them, presumably because they can’t find anyone who says they are, not only shows how out of touch the Tories are, but also the effects their ideologically driven policies are having on people’s lives.”

Iain Duncan Smith stayed in his comfort zone.

A DWP source said that Duncan Smith would not have had any knowledge of the leaflet before it was published.

The DWP remained in denial.

A DWP spokesman said: “The case studies were used for illustrative purposes to help people understand how the benefit system works. They’re based on conversations our staff have had with claimants. They have now been removed to avoid confusion.”

Others were not so smug.

Advertising Standards Authority rules state that “marketing communications must not materially mislead or be likely to do so”. The regulator’s rules also say that marketers “must hold documentary evidence that a testimonial or endorsement used in a marketing communication is genuine, unless it is obviously fictitious, and hold contact details for the person who, or organisation that, gives it”.

The Public Commercial Services Union said that it planned to write to the DWP to complain that it was irresponsible of the government to invent the stories to “illustrate the contentious belief that sanctions are welcomed by claimants”.

The union’s general secretary, Mark Serwotka, said: “It is disgraceful and sinister that the 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.”

Unite’s assistant general secretary, Steve Turner, said: “This is a shameful attempt by Iain Duncan Smith to bend the truth and gloss over the human misery of his cruel sanctions regime.

The wits of the Internet were not slow in reacting either:


Written by Andrew Coates

August 19, 2015 at 10:20 am

22 Responses

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  1. Meanwhile in the less amusing real world:

    “Chris Smith lay in a hospital bed, dying of cancer.

    He should have been helped by the system, the welfare state which was established to help people like Chris.

    Instead, the bombarded him with texts telling him he had to apply for jobs, and letters urging him to come to ‘job workshops.’

    Lee Marlow reports

    Read more: http://www.leicestermercury.co.uk/Fit-work/story-22782662-detail/story.html#ixzz3jFyos84x
    Follow us: @Leicester_Merc on Twitter | leicestermercury on Facebook

    Andrew Coates

    August 19, 2015 at 10:45 am

  2. To say that George Smith didn’t know of this is a outright lie.
    This piece of £%$£ would have been produced by the Press/Information office.
    As it is part of the central plank of DWP policy Snr Civil Servants and Ministers would have been pre-briefed on its contents.
    This would allow them to answer any questions concerning said rubbish by the press/constituants/stakeholders etc.
    I am a ex-civil servant and worked in a press office & have seen the system at work.


    August 19, 2015 at 12:10 pm

    • Is IDS going for a record with throttler smith? I am not surprised as when you go into the job centre you see these smiling posters or used too.. with quotes.. how many of those are made up, I wonder if sarah and zac had ever been unemployed and what they thought of being used to promote Lies


      August 19, 2015 at 1:36 pm

      • You mean like, “can i train , yes you can” banner.

        Funny that as i was told if i took a certain full time course that my benefits would be stopped automatically. I told them i can still look for night work but they wouldn’t have a bar of it. They said it was because it wasn’t an approved government training scheme. The course was in housing construction.


        August 21, 2015 at 7:43 am

  3. Benefit sanctions gave me the boot up the arse I sorely needed. A big thank you to you Iain and all your fantastic staff at the DWP!!

    Andrew Coates

    August 20, 2015 at 6:40 am

  4. One Day Just One Day! Somebody will go into the Jobcentre and see one of the faces on the posters sitting behind the counter. On the WC side. One Day Just One Day!


    August 20, 2015 at 8:24 am

    • One day came! I’m a working single mum who went through signing on and the lone parents advisors.
      I was I’n my local Superdrug on Monday to pick up my meds and buy my hair dye and who served me but one of the lone parents advisors I used to see! How the mighty fall! wonder if Superdrug take workfare or if she’s getting paid??

      kat rehman

      August 20, 2015 at 4:04 pm

      • Don’t mean to say I look down on shop workers because I don’t but to see her there and be served by her was surreal…

        kat rehman

        August 20, 2015 at 4:07 pm

  5. Benefit sanctions helped me get my life back on track. If I hadn’t been sanctioned I wouldn’t be where I am today. Thank you, thank you Iain Duncan Smith and the wonderful DWP from the very bottom of my heart.

    Living in a Cardboard Box

    August 20, 2015 at 8:34 am

  6. I will be ETERNALLY grateful for being sanctioned 😀

    Dead and Buried in the DWP Cemetery

    August 20, 2015 at 8:35 am

  7. All:

    Where’s Obi and gaia?

    jj joop

    August 20, 2015 at 9:32 am


    john burnley

    August 20, 2015 at 12:01 pm

  9. Iain Duncan Smith accused of planning to ‘fudge’ benefit death stats


    Benefit Sanctions Are A Health Hazard, Say Campaigners



    August 20, 2015 at 12:23 pm

  10. Tobanem

    August 20, 2015 at 3:13 pm

  11. Finland considers basic income to reform welfare system.

    The Finnish government is considering a pilot project that would see the state pay people a basic income regardless of whether they work.



    August 20, 2015 at 6:42 pm

    • But ………………………..


      August 20, 2015 at 9:35 pm

  12. Please provide statistics of all official crimes against humanity United Nations
    investigations launched into the UK government DWP since the welfare reform act was
    introduced in 2012.

    The information you require is not available under the Freedom of Information Act as the
    exemption contained in Section 27 on International Relations applies. All United Nations
    inquiry processes are confidential. That confidentiality should be respected.



    August 20, 2015 at 7:38 pm

  13. I’ve Been Told I’ve won a Pre-booked ticket in DWPs Wonde4rful and life changing Work Provider Regime in November. I know, getting Sanctioned is just the thing to Get me out of my starving bed and Work for nothing. Thanks DWP you’re going to fill the empty stomach with forced labour. I can never thank you enough!

    The November bit is for real – it will be interesting. Letters & evidence gathered but not printed yet.


    August 20, 2015 at 10:56 pm

  14. Tobanem

    August 21, 2015 at 4:56 pm

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