Hastings MP Amber Rudd has defended sharing a Department for Work and Pensions video which featured an actor promoting the benefits of Universal Credit.
The video features an interview with a man called Charlie who has started a personal training career after claiming the benefit.
Alex Tiffin, a Universal Credit blogger, responded to Ms Rudd saying Charlie is an actor who has documented ‘his lavish world’ online since 2013.
However, the Department for Work and Pensions defended the video saying Charlie is a ‘real Universal Credit claimant’ who may have done work as an extra in the past.
In the video – which Ms Rudd shared on Monday (January 28) – Charlie said he came to be at the Jobcentre because he was in a different period in his life which led him to be unemployed.
Sharing the video, Ms Rudd said: “Meet Charlie. Because of the personal support Universal Credit provides, Charlie started a personal training career.
“Universal Credit is helping people into work and I am going to share these good stories with you. So don’t just take my word for it, take Charlie’s.”
Mr Triffin responded to the Hastings and Rye MP with pictures appearing to show Charlie in an advert with Liverpool player Mo Salah and in front of a green screen.
In response, Ms Rudd called Mr Triffin’s allegation a ‘conspiracy theory’.
She said: “Hi Alex, glad you met Charlie.
“Your scepticism and conspiracy theories are misplaced. More than 1.6 million people claim UC, and they have a wide range of life experiences. No matter what work you’ve done, you can apply for UC.
“Cynically exploiting people’s pasts doesn’t help.”
A DWP spokesman added: “Everything portrayed in the video is true, and the people speaking are not paid to do so. Charlie is a real Universal Credit claimant who has now moved into work and his work coach, shown in the video, still works at the jobcentre.
“Charlie was asked to speak about his Universal Credit experience and his responses were not scripted.”