Are austerity and the government’s benefit cuts forcing Britain’s poorest citizens into cannibalism? This is the shocking claim being made by a top anti-poverty campaigner in the wake of the recent tragedy at Welsh homeless hostel during which one resident died after being tasered by police after he was discovered apparently eating a fellow resident. “The press and police can claim that he was some kind of disturbed ex-offender just out of prison all they like, but the truth is that the perpetrator in this case was poor and unemployed, scraping by with no money after having his benefits stopped for missing an appointment at the Job Centre,” Tim Firkstaff told the Tonypandy Enquirer. “I have it on good authority that he hadn’t eaten in days – the man was starving. Was it any wonder that he finally snapped and saw his neighbour in the hostel as not a young woman, but a three course meal?” The killer, forty nine year old Geraint Hopps, who had been released from prison only months earlier, was found kneeling over the blood soaked body of twenty five year old Helen Crank in his room at the Sinewy Arms Bed and Breakfast in the South Wales village of Twlldinpob by the landlady. “I used my pass key to get in after I heard this commotion – there was all this screaming like,” says fifty two year old Myfanwy Lubbers, who has denied lurid tabloid claims that Hopps was attacking Crank with a knife and fork and had spread mustard on his victim’s face. “The fact is that I didn’t actually see him eating her at all – he might have bitten her, but all this cannibalism business has been made up by the press!”

Nevertheless, Firkstaff is adamant that Hopps, who suffered a fatal heart attack after police called to the scene fired their tasers at him, was as much a victim as Helen Crank. “What does the government think is going to happen if they keep taking the poorest in society’s benefits away? Even if they can find work, it is inevitably low-paid, zero hours slave labour, leaving them worse off than if they were on benefits,” the political activist fumed to the Tonypandy Enquirer. “Under the Department of Work and Pensions’ (DWP) current rules, more and more unemployed people are being ‘sanctioned’ and having their benefits stopped for months at a time for even the most minor of misdemeanours – being late to sign on, for instance. So far, the government’s been lucky – the worst hit have simply starved to death, but now the inevitable has happened: they’ve started eating each other!” Firkstaff claims that this isn’t the first case of cannibalism amongst the unemployed. “Obviously, the authorities have hushed up previous incidents – they didn’t want mass panic to break out with the general public fearing they would be eaten by roving mobs of starving poor people,” he explained to the newspaper. “But I’ve heard from reliable sources that in several deprived inner city areas, when a local resident has died in their home, instead of calling the police or ambulance, their neighbours have held a ‘feast day’ instead of a funeral, at which they cook and eat the deceased!” The activist has also claimed to have heard stories of gangs of near feral children on sink estates being found gnawing on the dismembered limbs of local rough sleepers and tramps in a desperate attempt to gain some sustenance. “There have also been stories of some working class communities holding ‘meat lotteries’ to select a member to provide the basis for a communal meal,” Firkstaff claims. “It’s just another example of working class solidarity in the face of adversity and the kind of sacrifices their prepared to make in order to sustain their communities.”

Not surprisingly, Firkstaff’s claims have been rejected by the DWP, which has pointed out that the recent growth in food banks provide the poor and unemployed with adequate access to basic foodstuffs. Failing that, a spokesperson for the Department added, they could always try eating their dogs, as every poor family seemed to have at least three large and vicious canines. “That’s utter nonsense, why should poor people have to rely upon the charity of the better off? Going out and finding people to eat at least empowers the less well off, allowing them a sense of achievement by successfully hunting down, killing and cooking their prey,” opined Firkstaff. “Besides, the tight-fisted middle class bastards who contribute to food banks only ever give them all that supermarket own brand economy crap with no nutritional value – the only way the average person on a low income or benefits is going to get enough meat is by eating steak and the only way they can afford anything like that is by eating someone.” He also dismisses the idea that pet dogs could provide an alternative source of food for the poor. “For God’s sake, there’s just not enough meat even on the biggest dog,” he snorted in derision. “Not only that, but they taste like shit. Human flesh is far tastier – or so I’m told.”

However, Firkstaff doesn’t believe that the poor eating the poor is a sustainable means for them to survive in the long-term. “The reality is that most of them are so poorly fed that they provide very little nutritional value for cannibals,” he explained. “I mean, just look at the average person having to eke out their survival on a low income – most are scrawny and sallow skinned. It’s clear that if you tried to eat them their flesh would be stringy, tough and unappetising. Even those on low incomes who are obese are stuffed full of greasy fast food – just think of all the fat and glutens you’d be ingesting if you tried to consume them.” The activist believes that low income cannibals will inevitably target the better off. “There’s no doubt that the middle classes would be far more nutritious with their balanced diets, access to healthy foods and exercise regimes,” he told the Tonypandy Enquirer. “That’s why the authorities are trying to keep the lid on these recent cases, they can’t afford to have Daily Mail readers living in fear of being eaten before they can introduce measures to protect them.” The increase in ‘gated communities’, Firkstaff believes is, in large part, a result of the threat posed by cannibalistic benefits claimants to the better off. “More and more the authorities are trying to keep rich and poor separate, with the increased ‘privatisation’ of formerly public places and the ‘gentrification’ of formerly working class districts,” he alleged. “Then there are those blocks of flats which have separate entrances for those in the social housing flats and those in the private flats – they don’t want to risk some hungry worker trying to take a bite out of some fat banker!”

Some commentators have gone further than Firkstaff, speculating that the DWP is deliberately forcing the poor and unemployed into cannibalism. “It’s all part of Iain Duncan Smith’s master plan,” Professor Bob Mincer of the Merton Institute of Ceramics told The Sleaze. “Not only does it further demonise the poor, but if they are forced to eat each other, then eventually it will reduce the numbers of benefits claimants. How else to do you think that they’ve been managing to get the official unemployment figures down?” Mincer also suspects that Work and Pensions Secretary Duncan Smith believes that he is actually helping benefits claimants with this policy. “In his usual twisted way, he probably thinks that he’s improving the low paid through a process of Darwinian natural selection,” he told us. “By forcing them to eat each other, only the strongest will survive, making them fitter for work, healthier and therefore more employable. He probably thinks that they should be thanking him rather than condemning him.”