The old romantics over at the loveable Department for Work and Pensions have marked Valentines Day in that time honoured fashion – by threatening to put their Twitter followers behind bars.
Esther McVey’s department has launched a seasonal advert about benefit fraud that warns you could “get separated from your valentine.”
The department’s tweet also includes a link to a story on their campaign in the Daily Express. A DWP spokesman tells the paper: “The shameless few involved are deliberating diverting money away from those who really need it.”
We trust that’s a reference to the tax deal the Express’ parent company, Northern and Shell, cut with Luxembourg to help them avoid paying millions in corporation tax.
Claiming to be living alone is one of the most common types of benefit fraud – don’t ruin #ValentinesDay by failing to declare your true circumstances https://t.co/tZuNYZ5fer pic.twitter.com/ahutOO6NUy
— DWP Press Office (@dwppressoffice) February 13, 2018
The heartless campaign has been branded “sinister” and threatening by Labour MPs:
Let there be no doubt. The @DWP @dwppressoffice are not there to help you, they are to catch you out. A truly sinister #ValentinesDay tweet that tells you all you need to know about a Tory Government. https://t.co/v3qdy1Laeh
— Toby Perkins (@tobyperkinsmp) February 14, 2018
Valentines Day is meant to be about love. This DWP message is a threat.
They even say “Don’t ruin Valentines Day”.
Is that meant to be irony?
Tory Britain today. pic.twitter.com/E0W9mXN00p
— Bill Esterson (@Bill_Esterson) February 14, 2018
It’s also provoked some pointed parodies:
— Liam O'Hare (@Liam_O_Hare) February 13, 2018
The row comes on the day Parliament’s Work and Pensions committee releases a report on Tory benefits tests, which says:
“Large sums of money have been paid to contractors despite quality targets having been universally missed.
“The taxpayer has spent hundreds of millions of pounds more checking and defending DWP decisions based on the contractors’ reports – not least in externalised costs in the Tribunal appeal system.”
Roses are red, Tories are blue, they won’t touch big business, but it’s prison for you…