The Valentine’s Day campaign from the DWP should remind us how hard love actually is on benefits [Image: Prospect composite].

I said the DWP was “dopey” to tweet its Valentine’s Day discrimination campaign; now we have confirmation.

“We didn’t intend to offend anybody,” came the hapless comment to PR Week.

“We regularly use significant dates in the calendar to help communicate our policies and did so for a number of issues on Valentine’s Day.”

So the DWP’s policies include telling isolated people they are not believed, threatening couples with jail, tearing families apart and pushing people to suicide. That’s ‘caring Conservatism’ for you!

Bear in mind that the DWP habitually refuses entirely legitimate benefit claims for the most specious reasons – sometimes in defiance of its own evidence.

This time, the backlash was exactly what the DWP and its Tory paymasters deserved.

As well as stirring up a hornet’s nest of social-media ire, national media outlets including the New Statesman responded angrily to the social comms. A piece on the magazine’s website was particularly angry about a link included in the tweet to a Daily Express article about benefit fraudsters, while the publication cited figures that suggest the amount of benefits paid out to scammers is minimal and offset by underpayments.

The Express piece gave examples of fraudsters, including a Leicester woman who wrongfully received £83,370 in benefits by falsely claiming she was single.

The article also quoted James Blake from the DWP’s counter-fraud and compliance directorate. “Relationships have their ups and downs but not telling us when your circumstances change is a crime and the shameless few involved are deliberating diverting money away from those who really need it,” he warned.

“True love may be hard to come by but benefits cheats aren’t difficult to track down.”

Source: DWP responds to social storm over Valentine’s Day benefit fraud tweet | PR Week


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