UK

DWP Leaflet's 'Fake Benefit Claimants' Discovered In Other Welfare Guides

19/08/2015 11:26 BST | Updated 19/08/2015 11:59 BST
PA

Fresh revelations in the row over a rubbished DWP leaflet emerged on Wednesday, when it was discovered two fake characters featured in a benefit sanctions explainer had been used to illustrate other Government literature.

Iain Duncan Smith's administration was chastised for publishing a leaflet with fictitious welfare claimants praising a crackdown on support allowances being stopped, and have since withdrawn the original material.

But 'Sarah' and 'Zac', two made-up characters featured in the original brochure, were unearthed in two other DWP publications - one a Job Seekers Allowance (JSA) advice guide, and another part of a Universal Credit information sheet.

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'Sarah' in the original, now-removed, leaflet

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'Zac' praising the sanctions system

Both characters, who's character profiles were accompanied with pictures plucked from a stock photo library, were embarrassingly found on other welfare literature.

'Sarah' appeared in a January 2015 blogpost on a Tumblr site run by Government officials; advice under her picture included '10 tips to help you get your dream job'.

Since pulling the stock photo model's picture from their leaflet that caused upset on Tuesday, the post featuring 'Sarah' on 'The Daily Jobseeker' has also been removed. Officials have not yet confirmed why to The Huffington Post UK.

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Now you see her...

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...Now you don't

'Zac' also had his photo accompany a quote discussing the Mandatory Work Activity (MWA) scheme.

"I didn't take part in the MWA scheme. 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," The Independent reported him as saying.

The web address it was previously found has, since Wednesday, showed an error message and forwarded traffic on to a different benefits explainer.

Outcry was sparked on Twitter and the original posts mocked, after the characters and their quotes were outed as fake by Welfare Weekly this week.

Speaking to HuffPost UK on Tuesday, a DWP spokeperson said the pictures, names, quotes and profiles used to accompany comments praising the Government's welfare crackdown were for "illustrative purposes".

"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 said.

“They have now been removed to avoid confusion.”