A Birmingham man attempted to burn himself alive outside his local jobcentre on Friday in what one witness described as a "shocking" protest.
The 48-year-old man was reportedly in hospital on Friday night after tying himself to the railings outside Selly Oak's Jobcentre Plus in Harborne Lane and setting his legs on fire.
The incident followed a leaked memo to jobcentre staff last month instructing them in how to "manage" suicidal or self-harming claimants.
A witness told reporters they could smell the fumes as he had doused himself in something, but police quickly intervened.
"It's shocking that somebody could have been driven to those depths," the witness said.
A spokesman for the Public and Commercial Services union said today's exact circumstances were unclear, but it was tragic that the man had felt driven to such a desperate act.
The social and economic pressures on beneficiaries were naturally affecting people's mental health, he said.
Staff who witnessed the man's protest were still "incredibly upset," he added.
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