Of course, Valentine’s day is a day of joyful sentiments and appreciation. A day that you can consume with your loved one, with all the compassion and niceties, so what better way to observe it, than with a message from the DWP, intimidating you and telling you that they will take away your privileges.
Soon, you’re beginning to feel like a teenager that’s been told off and made to sit on the naughty step.
Awwwww, how sweet.
The charmers down at the Department of Work and Pensions have got everyone feeling all emotional and misty-eyed with a veiled warning to people who’re living together as spouses but not reporting it to the DWP.
Actually, it’s not even that veiled, is it? Furthermore, it’s safe to say it hasn’t gone down well.
It’s like a nuclear war and naturally, several gammon-faced Brexiters have gathered in too, to maintain that it’s a great thing to take away people’s welfare money, making the entire situation even nastier and shameful.
In case you’re unfamiliar with Britain’s bountiful benefits system, the DWP can decrease individual benefits if you’re living with someone as a couple and in some instances, this means inspectors attending people’s homes to investigate whether they’re romantically involved so the DWP can decrease their benefits.
Therefore this Valentine’s Day message about this was especially charming and nothing declares love like continuing the damaging societal story of benefit scroungers via a cutesy gif.
Those Casanovas over at the Department of Work & Pensions decided to get all heated and cloudy on the topic of welfare fraud in observance of Valentine’s Day this year and pretending to be living alone is one of the most popular examples of benefit fraud.
Don’t ruin Valentines Day by failing to disclose your true circumstances, it said in a rudely dictatorial post on Twitter and to combine the honey to the vinegar, a delightful pink graphic.
Declaring your true love tomorrow? It asked, floating over a sketched hot-air balloon in the appearance of a heart.
Don’t neglect to reveal you’re true living arrangements too. Don’t get separated from your Valentine. Tell us about a change now and, the perfect tease, it attaches a link to an Express editorial about benefit cheats.
The DWP is pure trash.
Anyhow, once the enchantment wore off, here’s the context of this claim.
The government predicts 1.1 percent of benefits paid out were fraudulently claimed in 2015-16. However, even this minute symmetry comes under the section of overpayment accounting for 1.9 percent of benefit expenditure in 2015-16, which further includes honest blunders on both sides.
So only a small minority of people are fraudulently claiming.
There is further underpayment in the system, which is roughly the same symmetry. The amount underpaid to benefit claimants in the same period as above was 1 percent of total expenditure.
The government states undeclared cohabiting is a general kind of benefit fraud. However, this is considered to be because of fast-changing living situations and the complex nature of cohabitation as a relationship and living together can mean many different relationships, and the government requires you to report the income of your married partner, your civil partner, or if you are living together as a married couple if you’re claiming benefits or tax credits, which is a confused description.
Cohabiting claims have most infamously been messed up on the government’s side and the private company Concentrix that handled tax credit claims for HMRC removed money from people who they accused of cohabiting with RS McColl, a Scottish corner shop chain that would appear on some people’s statements because you can get benefits from there, the 19th century philanthropist Joseph Rowntree a claimant lived in a house furnished by the Foundation under his name, and their own children.
However, it’s roused up a hornet’s nest on social-media ire and national media outlets including the New Statesman reacted furiously to the social comms and a section on the magazine’s website was especially annoyed about a link included in the tweet to a Daily Express feature about benefit fraudsters, whilst the paper quoted figures that suggest the number of benefits paid out to scammers is minimal and offset by underpayments.
The DWP announced to PR Week that earlier comparable campaigns tied in with calendar dates and had not created such a powerful response and a spokesperson replied that they frequently use important dates in the calendar to better articulate their methods and did so for a number of matters on Valentine’s Day and that they didn’t plan on offending anybody… Yeah, right!
However, displeasure was apparently taken by the likes of gammon-faced Brexiters, which called the tweet unpleasant and exceptionally misjudged.
However, the most blatant acknowledgements to the DWP’s impact were offended tweeters, who have characterised the campaign as a strong entry from the DWP for the most ill-judged Valentine-related social media campaign award and a nadir in DWP comms.
Another was cruder: “Happy Valentine’s Day you lonely, lawbreaking shits,” it stated, while other tweets riffed on the romantic verse ‘Roses are red, violets are blue’, adding their own couplets.
The Express article gave instances of fraudsters, including a Leicester woman who wrongfully collected £83,370 in benefits by erroneously declaring she was single.
The piece also cited James Blake from the DWP’s counter-fraud and compliance directorate as stating that relationships have their ups and downs but not telling the DWP when your circumstances change is a crime and the shameless few involved are deliberating diverting money away from those who really need it.
He also said that true love may be hard to come by but benefits cheats aren’t difficult to track down.
Love was in the air, but what you could sniff was the Department for Work and Pensions stinking out the room. At least that was the collective opinion on social media after the Whitehall department in charge of benefits elected to mark Valentine’s Day with a welfare crackdown.
This is very disturbing and this is the agency that brought us “When did you catch Down’s Syndrome and 40 years of Toryism has promptly slaughtered the UK’s humanity and we are ironically living under a sick government which treats the needy and disabled with complete disdain.
The City of London Thieving banker department steals more money in a single day from the taxpayer than the Poor fiddle over the course of a year in unwarranted benefit claims and it’s about time they began taking a leaf out of their own book.
You have to establish an example for society. There’s too much Tory teapot calling kettle black, and they wouldn’t know what the word Love means and while multi-millionaires rake in tax-free avoidance in offshore tax havens what are the Tories doing? Clamping down and intimidating with prison sentences to the poorest.
Furthermore, they have spent £100 million in under two years fighting and frequently losing appeals from people who have been refused disability benefits.