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Job agent boasted on Twitter about halting 'suckers'' benefits

Woman who found staff for Amazon is suspended after her comments provoked backlash

Emily Dugan
Tuesday 13 August 2013 14:53 BST
Amazon’s giant distribution centre near Swansea, one of eight in the UK
Amazon’s giant distribution centre near Swansea, one of eight in the UK (Rex Features)

A recruitment agent who posted gleeful messages on Twitter about getting people’s benefits stopped after they missed appointments has been suspended after her comments prompted an angry backlash on the site.

Kelly-Jane Stone from Watford, who was responsible for finding staff for the online retailer Amazon, posted a series of messages on Sunday describing how she got “so much pleasure” from getting people’s benefits stopped. Using a now closed Twitter account, @DietQueen, she said: “In my new job, if people from the [job centre] don’t turn up to an appointment with me, I stop their benefits for 13 weeks... suckers.”

Ms Stone works as a senior resourcer for the Amazon account at Transline Group in Hemel Hempstead. The company said last night she was “suspended pending a full investigation”. Ms Stone and Amazon did not respond to an approach for comment.

Her posts began after someone with the username @Devils_baguette wrote: “Point out one thing people who chose [sic] to live on benefits contribute to society”?

Ms Stone’s second response was: “I get so much pleasure knowing what I can do if the [sic] mess me around. I’m going to be shot one day for it I bet!”

Another message over two tweets read: “I had someone who’s been claiming for 10 years and his benefits were stopped because he told me he gets more through the Government than working. Even his housing benefits stopped... bliss.”

She added: “Same thing if I offer them a job too and they don’t turn up – benefits stopped forever until a job is found. Gutted.”

Her friend responded: “More likely stabbed. Your average peasant is more likely to own a BB gun than a real firearm. God I’d love your job!”

Ms Stone was then barraged by angry messages. One called @souless-sniper wrote: “Who cares about feeding people eh? No wonder there’s an increase in food banks.”

Another, using the handle @symphonydog wrote: “Those tweets about people on the dole are really horrible. People are really suffering and you’re on some power trip? Sick.”

Linda Sinclair of the Bedroom Tax Action Group, a welfare lobby which highlighted the tweets, said: “I am quite horrified that anyone working for a recruitment agency (somewhere surely designed to help and encourage people back to work) has the authority to get someone’s Jobseeker’s Allowance and/or Housing Benefit stopped, and then appears to take pleasure in doing so.”

Decisions on sanctions, which are used as a last resource when jobseekers fail to live up to the conditions agreed when they made their claim for benefits, are only taken by the Department for Work and Pensions.

A spokesperson said: "Only the DWP has the power to remove benefits it administers."

On her LinkedIn page, which was later taken down, Ms Stone said: “I love my team and my job as there are unlimited opportunities.”

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