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Cruel Valentine’s PR stunt by DWP backfires badly

This news post is over 6 years old

Backlash over hugely insensitive tweet

Social media users have criticised a “cruel” PR stunt by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) after it tweeted a message warning couples not to “ruin Valentine’s Day by failing to declare your true circumstances”.

“Claiming to be living alone is one of the most common types of benefit fraud – don’t ruin Valentine’s Day by failing to declare your true circumstances”, the tweet read.

The Twitter page, from the DWP’s press office, added: “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.”

SNP MP Alison Thewliss was first to react with: “Apparently there is no celebration that @DWP won’t try to ruin…”

Then she tweeted: “Taking this opportunity also to point out that families with children from previous relationships will lose their child tax credits/UC entitlement by coming together in a new r’ship.

“Or if there are 2 children from a previous r’ship and want to have a 3rd in new r’ship.”

Another Twitter user said: “How about making someone's Valentine's day by making sure you pay all of the unclaimed benefits to which people are entitled. It's the thought that counts.”

Twitter user September Rising said: “What an awful disgusting message, but I suppose when so many people have died waiting on benefits or having them removed, a false love message fits well with your horrendous department.”

The DWP has been asked to respond.