A misleading leaflet published by Iain Duncan Smith’s Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) used fake stories of benefit claimants to sell the DWP’s benefit sanctions regime, without making it clear that the stories were fiction. The leaflet has now been withdrawn.
The dishonesty of DWP marketeers came to light after a Freedom of Information (FOI) request from Welfare Weekly magazine. This asked the DWP to prove that “Zac’s story” and “Sarah’s story”, two statements with photographs from two people who claimed to have treated very fairly by Duncan Smith’s department over benefit sanctions, were in fact true stories of real people. The DWP was unable to do so and admitted that they’d used stock photographs and made the stories up to suit their promotional message.
After the FOI request the leaflet was quickly wiped off the DWP website, but not before Welfare Weekly had put it up as a pdf on theirs.