Let’s just put this down as a place marker for now.
The DWP has 14 calendar days left in which to get me the statistics showing how many people have died while claiming Employment and Support Allowance under varying circumstances, by the way.
One in five benefit claimants whose deaths were subject to official reviews had been sanctioned by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), it has been revealed.
In response to a freedom of information request from Anita Bellows, a researcher with Disabled People Against Cuts, the DWP admitted that of the 49 peer reviews carried out into benefit claimant deaths, 10 had received a sanction “at some point in their claim”.
Ms Bellows told the Disability News Service: “Because DWP is refusing to publish these peer reviews, the only thing we can [assume] from their response is that one in five [of the] benefit claimants who committed suicide had sanctions recorded at some point in their claim.“
Although suicides cannot be attributed to a single cause or factor, it is right to question the role played by sanctions in these suicides, as they are under direct control of the secretary of state, who has the power to stop them immediately if they are proved to be a significant factor in claimants’ deaths.