DWP's 'Unpleasant' Valentine's Day Tweet Is Exceptionally Mis-Judged, People Think

Graeme Demianyk
Love is in the air, but what you can smell right now is the Department for Work and Pensions stinking out the room.

Love is in the air, but what you can smell right now is the Department for Work and Pensions stinking out the room.

At least that’s the collective view on social media after the Whitehall department in charge of benefits decided to mark Valentine’s Day with a welfare crackdown. 

Here’s the gift the Esther McVey-run DWP offered less than loved-up couples: the prospect of jail-time.

Against the backdrop of a huge pink heart, a video reads: “Declaring your true love tomorrow? Don’t forget to declare your true living arrangements too.

“Don’t get separated from your Valentine. Tell us of a change now.”

The tweet links to a story run on the Daily Express’s website under the headline: “Valentine’s fraud WARNING: Crackdown issued on couples who pose as single to cheat taxman”. 

Among a series of examples, the piece points to a married Leicester woman who “raked in” £83,370 in benefits by falsely claiming she was a single, unemployed mother-of-two while still living with her husband for one or two nights-a-week. She was handed a 15-month suspended sentence.

It quotes James Blake, of the DWP’s Counter Fraud and Compliance Directorate, saying: “Relationships have their ups and downs but not telling us when your circumstances change is a crime and the shameless few involved are deliberating diverting money away from those who really need it.

“True love may be hard to come-by but benefits cheats aren’t difficult to track down.

“Our fraud investigators are committed to bringing criminals to justice.”

But commentators suggested the Valentine-themed campaign was perhaps a little tone-deaf.

Others took to a familiar verse to sound their disquiet.

Politicians from across the spectrum raised eyebrows.

Some offered sympathy to whoever had to write the words that are unlikely to be picked up by Hallmark any time soon.

And, well, ... quite

By using Yahoo you agree that Yahoo and partners may use Cookies for personalisation and other purposes