The two fake characters who were used by the Department for Work and Pensions in leaflets promoting its benefits sanctions regime were also deployed in other Government literature, it has emerged.
— a very stupid person (@a_v_s_p) August 18, 2015
One of the supposed “benefit claimaints” – named as ‘Sarah’ – was quoted praising the DWP for threatening to withdraw benefits if she refused to complete her CV. The DWP admitted that her comments were among a series of quotes on leaflets that were fabricated for “illustrative purposes”.
— People's NHS (@PeoplesNHS) August 19, 2015
"Being sanctioned's just what I needed. Helped me realise I was a lazy tw*t, & that I caused the 2008 crash. Thank you, IDS."#FakeDWPStories
— Steven~★☭ (@NYorksSocialist) August 18, 2015
The woman posing as ‘Sarah’ was also pictured in another government blog, called The Daily Job Seeker, which offers practical advice on interview tips and techniques and information about Universal Credit.
— Jon Swindon (@swindon81) August 19, 2015
— Simon J Duffy (@simonjduffy) August 20, 2015
As with the leaflet about benefit sanctions, the post from ‘Sarah’ on the Job Seeker advice website has been removed, with a link to the post simply containing the message “not found” and her picture and quote vanished:
The DWP said it was not commenting further on the story and refused to confirm whether it had pulled the posts in response to the widespread outrage expressed against the DWP yesterday. Another character, named as ‘Zac’, also praised the new benefit rules, explaining how his benefits had continued because he had offered proof of a hospital appointment:
“I didn’t take part in the MWA scheme,” he is quoted as saying. “Then my work coach found me a job that suited my skills but I didn’t apply for it, so my JSA has been stopped for six months. If I don’t apply for the jobs my work coach asks me to apply for I could end up losing my benefits for three years.” The link to the post has also been edited, with an error message appearing and visitors forwarded to a different post on the site.
— Scott Nelson (@TheMockneyRebel) August 19, 2015
The DWP was widely condemned for the fake quotes, with charities accusing the Government of misleading the public over the “unacceptable” fabrication of quotes, while the shadow work and pensions secretary Stephen Timms said the admission should lead to the sanctions regime to be scrapped.
— David Prescott (@DavidPrescott) August 19, 2015
— Dan Olner (@DanOlner) August 19, 2015
Jeremy Corbyn, the front-runner in the Labour leadership contest, offered the strongest criticism, describing the fabrication of comments as “truly shameful”. “The punitive benefit sanctions regime is impoverishing some of the very poorest unemployed and disabled people, driving more people into deeper poverty,” he said. “It is a damning indictment that civil servants are now being forced to make up quotes to cover for the failed political agendas of ministers, after the numerous debacles of Universal Credit, the work capability assessment, and the delays facing disabled people trying to get personal independence payments.”
— Nick (@Mylegalforum) August 18, 2015
— Dave Camoron (@EtonOldBoys) August 19, 2015
When most people see a person in the depths of despair or on the brink of suicide, they see a vulnerable person in need of help and compassion. Although not if you’re Iain Duncan Smith, it would seem.
— Dave Camoron (@EtonOldBoys) August 20, 2015
It’s been revealed that his Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) refuses to count serious mental health conditions amongst their criteria to protect vulnerable people on benefits. If you have depression, anxiety or OCD and are on the dole – tough luck. Under Tory logic, you probably chose being mentally ill as a lifestyle; just like you chose to be poor.
— The Independent (@Independent) August 20, 2015
Campaigners estimate that at least 80 suicide cases are linked to abrupt benefits sanctions. But the bottom line is that we simply do not know how many have died as a result. This is because Iain Duncan Smith is still refusing to reveal how many people have died after having their benefits sanctioned. The Government used to reveal this information until 2012 but abruptly stopped as the Conservatives proceeded to carve the heart out of the welfare system.
— SJ.Mugsborough (@RaggyTroosers) August 21, 2015
Iain Duncan Smith is point blank refusing to reveal the numbers. This is despite the Information Commissioner saying there is no justifiable reason to conceal the information. Despite the UK independent statistics watchdog writing to him this weekend to urge him to release honest and clear figures. And despite the fact that a petition from the public seeking the truth has reached close to a quarter of a million signatures.
— The Skibbereen Eagle (@theskibeagle) August 22, 2015
This is what it has come to. A Fake Britain led by Fake Tories using Fake People to justify their greed and amorality.
Today, powered by its readers and contributors, from its cyber eyries in Ireland and the centres of the Irish Diaspora The Eagle casts its Cold Eye on Life and Death and much in between.