The Department for Work and Pensions has admitted using made-up stories from fictional claimants to demonstrate the positive impact of benefit sanctions.
A DWP leaflet featured one welfare claimant, “Sarah”, who said she was “really pleased” a cut to her benefits had encouraged her to improve her CV.
But after a Freedom of Information request by website Welfare Weekly, the DWP said they were not real claimants.
The stories were for “illustrative purposes only”, it added.
Under the sanctions system – introduced by Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith – people can lose benefits for anywhere between a few weeks and three years if they fail to meet the government’s requirements for jobseekers.
Stephen Timms, Labour’s acting shadow work and pensions secretary, said: “You couldn’t make it up – but it seems Iain Duncan Smith can. The only way he can find backers for his sanctions regime is by inventing them.”
And that’s the best an opposition party could muster.Supine ,ineffectual and given the constitutional severity of it all , a flagrant act of moral cowardice. True ,they could ,of course have quoted Nietzsche : ” What the State has is theft and what the State says is lies “. But such a quotation deployed with visceral aplomb really is beyond the lilliputian abilities of those pretending to be ,somehow opposed to Capitalism’s Programmatic Austerity.