The question on many people’s lips is, “Will the Department for Works and Pensions now be sanctioned for lying and have their money stopped?”
Amid fresh reports that The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has admitted making up comments from supposed “benefit claimants” that appeared in a leaflet about sanctions.
Earlier last year, the DWP were found to have also made up fake or bogus vacancies on their Universal Jobmatch website. Social affairs editor from Channel 4 Jackie Long said, “1 in 50 of the jobs on the website which appeared to come from many different companies. The worrying fact is that they (DWP) couldn’t prove the jobs were genuine. The DWP have been forced to admit that many of their jobs on their website are in breach of the department’s own guidelines and shouldn’t be there.”
“It is extraordinary but are we are surprised? Well we are not surprised; we have continued to investigate Universal Jobmatch. There are 2.7 million jobs on the website and the DWP have admitted there are a number of jobs on there that don’t meet their terms and conditions but they insist that doesn’t mean the jobs are bogus”, Long added.
This week, it has emerged that a DWP leaflet, which has now been withdrawn, included positive example stories from people who claimed to have interacted with the sanctions system.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” after a cut to her benefits supposedly encouraged her to re-draft her CV.
The fabricated quote further read, “It’s going to help me when I’m ready to go back to work.”
Another, by a benefit claimant supposedly called “Zac”, details the sanctions system working well.
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 revelation is controversial because the sanctions system has been criticised for causing extreme hardship and being operated in an unfair and arbitrary way.
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.
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