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David Clapson when he was in the army … he was found dead in 2013, after his benefits were stopped.

David Clapson when he was in the army … he was found dead in 2013, after his benefits were stopped.

We all know the circumstances of David Clapson’s death but too many people – Amelia Gentleman included (in her article of 2014, below) – are pussyfooting around the cause.

It isn’t that sanctions were imposed too harshly on him, but we still accept the need for benefit claimants to be sanctioned if they fail to search for jobs in a meaningful way – because we know Mr Clapson was searching in a meaningful way, and he was still sanctioned.

It’s that the Conservative Government imposed a draconian, financially-crippling sanction system on jobseekers because they don’t want to pay any money to people who are out of work and simply don’t care if those people come to harm as a result.

In fact, they would prefer it because they would never have to pay those people again.

In short, they want jobseekers to die.

Isn’t it time we were honest about that?

Then – perhaps – we could be honest about how we should respond to it.

We know that David Clapson was actively searching for work when he died because a pile of CVs he had just printed out was found a few metres from his body. The last time he spoke to his sister, a few days before he died, he told her he was waiting to hear back about an application he had made to the supermarket chain Lidl.

But officials at the Jobcentre believed he was not taking his search for work seriously enough, and early last July, they sanctioned him – cutting off his benefit payments entirely, as a punishment for his failure to attend two appointments.

Clapson, 59, who had diabetes, died in his flat in Stevenage on 20 July 2013, from diabetic ketoacidosis (caused by an acute lack of insulin). When Gill Thompson, his younger sister, discovered his body, she found his electricity had been cut off (meaning that the fridge where he kept his insulin was no longer working). There was very little left to eat in the flat – six tea bags, an out-of-date tin of sardines and a can of tomato soup. His pay-as-you-go mobile phone had just 5p credit left on it and he had only £3.44 in his bank account. The autopsy notes reveal that his stomach was empty.

Source: ‘No one should die penniless and alone’: the victims of Britain’s harsh welfare sanctions | Society | The Guardian

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