Sickness benefit death statistics – a quick update

(No, I haven’t had the tribunal’s decision yet!)

Those of you who have read my report on the benefit deaths tribunal will know that Samuel Miller received a response to his own Freedom of Information request for updated death statistics of incapacity benefit (and ESA) claimants a few weeks ago – but it did not cover the correct dates and was not ordered in a similar way to the ‘Incapacity benefits: Deaths of recipients’ report released in 2012.

It was impossible for anyone to consider it an update of the figures in that report, as the Department for Work and Pensions was claiming by sending it to Mr Miller.

I reported on Thursday that he had requested another response, made out in an appropriate manner, and that he had been advised he would receive this soon.

In fact, he was told the response would arrive yesterday (Friday).

Guess what?

That’s right – no show.

“As you know, I had asked the DWP to put these latest mortality statistics into context. Well, they haven’t responded by today’s date, as promised,” Mr Miller said on Twitter.

Quelle surprise.

Perhaps we can hope this is a simple mistake and the numbers will be with him soon.

Just don’t hold your breath waiting – or you may become another government statistic.

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17 thoughts on “Sickness benefit death statistics – a quick update

  1. beastrabban

    Reblogged this on Beastrabban’s Weblog and commented:
    More broken promises from a government well practiced in the art of lying. Despite assurances to the contrary, they have not supplied Samuel Miller with the updated information he requested, thus showing they really do have something to hide.

  2. Terry Cfc Poole

    why do we even bother to seek the truth in any matters that involve the DWP or the government?..its clear that they will never be open and honest with the public,,,,can we even trust the judgments made by tribunals, does the government have any influence over them?…its got to the point where we cannot trust any one from the ruling elite, or am I just being paranoid?…good work with your input by the way, at the tribunal of the 23rd april, lets wait and see the outcome..given the evidence, it should go our way……but that big word CORRUPTION, comes to mind.

    1. Mike Sivier

      None of the evidence I’ve seen suggests that tribunals are overly influenced by the government. Look at the number of WCA decisions that have been overturned by tribunals for an example of them contradicting the government. My McKenzie friend told me as we were preparing our case that she has seen tax tribunals going against HMRC.

      In addition, there is the fact that the judgement in my case will be a full, written decision, giving all the reasons behind it.

      I think we may rely on the tribunal to be fair.

      My only concern is whether I made my case well enough.

      1. Nick

        i think you made your case well far better then any other journalist in the uk shame on them i know and have known for years many top journalists from kay burley at sky through to Anita rani at the bbc and John Humphrey’s who I’ve known for 40 years

        the one thing they all have in common with IDS is that they have very limited powers of thinking for themselves they are all self centred with themselves they all copy from outsiders like cnn etc and then put a spin on it as if it were their own or there’ll try to get from some of my facebook contacts some additional info

        they never do their own research and if they do they never ask the right questions they always sideline a difficult question and always have done

        only the main bbc 1 newsreaders are decent the rest of the team journalists are rubbish especially bbc2

      2. thelovelywibblywobblyoldlady

        Mike, first let me put your mind at rest; you stated your case well and got out all the evidential points.

        Terry Cfc Poole – In First Tier Tribunals (FTT) the burden of proof is on the appellant (Mike) and the standard of proof is, on the balance of probabilities (it’s more likely than not that something did or did not happen).
        Tribunal judges are usually fully qualified Queens Counsel, who specialise in a particular area of law. They deal with what is termed the “raw law” such as interpretation of Acts, Statutory Instruments and Case Law. The tribunal members will have a knowledge of the substantive point(s) at issue (so in the FTT tax chamber for example, the lay member may be an accountant).
        Believe me, tribunal judges & lay members are subject to a high level of scrutiny; they MUST NOT show unconscionable bias to either party, most hearings are recorded, the eventual written decision is placed in the public domain, the losing party has a right to appeal to the Upper Tribunal (UT) in which the FTT decision can be overturned if it is established that it erred in law.

        I strongly believe that as the judge was focusing on the “serious purpose” aspect of Mike’s request, he is duty bound to apply the “public interest test” and he accepted that a “vexatious” request case that was recently before the UT, in which the requesters appeal was dismissed WAS NOT the same in fact and law as Mike’s request (UT decisions are usually binding on the lower appellate courts only if they are the same in fact and law).

        The judge could only ask questions of Mike as DWP/ICO reps did not turn up.
        That is helpful to Mike’s case because the judge can’t ask questions of DWP/ICO written submissions.

  3. Paul Mac

    would love to have the money to take them to court, and the DWP minister seeing as he is their boss. Would also be worth taking the Whitehall Mandarin who holds role as Sec of Dept. to court as well

  4. anon

    Looks like they’re running scared.

    WHEN these figures finally are exposed, there will be no remaining excuses to delay an immediate full public inquiry, and for the ENTIRE WCA ASSESSMENT PROCESS (not just convenient scapagoats like Atos) TO BE SUSPENDED until the DWP can guarantee there will be NO further deaths, and NO HARM caused to those targeted.

    Perhaps IDS should bear in mind that the REGS 29 & 35 exemptions for the WCA refer to ‘RISK OF HARM’, where the legal advice given to the Black Triangle Campaign made clear that the law refers to ANY harm, not just harm serious enough to result in death.

    1. Mike Sivier

      It’s impossible to ensure that nobody on ESA will die, because many of these people do have terminal conditions.

      The problem is the deaths of those who are still being assessed, or have been put in the work-related activity group and are therefore expected to recover enough to take a job, or have been marked fit for work and are therefore expected to be fit enough to go looking for work immediately.

      It seems likely that these people will have been denied the care they need – and for which their taxes have paid – purely to meet an arbitrary target set by the government, for the number of people going into each group.

      It is abuse of this kind that must end.

  5. Nick

    one further point mike you ask any journalist in the uk do they know about any of the top blogs or facebook blogs on illness or disability and they will tell you all bar one sonia poulton that they don’t

    those facts speak for themselves if it weren’t for the likes of you mike there would be no journalism at all

    if you take that concept across the world it makes a complete mockery of the news and that what you are told is false or a half truth at best especially with any facts or figures

    journalism is very important and for the very small number of good journalist like mike is far from satisfactory so it’s no wonder people in general don’t have a clue about anything and just sail through life with there head buried in the sand knowing nothing and as the police will tell you not seeing anything

    1. Mike Sivier

      The reporter who attended my tribunal last Wednesday was a reader of Vox Political.

      That being said, I take your general point as I agree that she is more likely to be an exception to the rule, and in any case, VP is now a high-traffic site.

      1. Nick

        i think i you know what i meant mike all i ever get from a journalist or lord or mp is never herd of that blog or person and best wishes
        not bad money for not knowing nothing about anything and i’m not just talking welfare you can ask a journalist anything and the answer I’ve always had is the same (never heard of it )

        i sometimes think the only person who knows most things is myself and that’s never a good place to be but my mp says it could be true

        for a person like myself so ill i don’t find that a compliment at all with so much turmoil going on in peoples lives but if it’s true and i am the only one or one of a few that know most things then that would account for the way the world is today

        and that’s everyone for themselves and sod the rest sound a bit like where i live
        i go round someone house and all you get is a blank stare in a very dimly lit hallway with junk all around them not poverty just junk

        a very far cry from my upbringing that’s for sure

  6. A6er

    I admire your stance and tenacity Mike and I sincerely hope you (we) get the result we want in that your original request is decided to be “not vexatious”

    I do worry though that because of who you are taking on, ie IDS,DWP, et al, that this decision has already been made over a brandy in some Gentlemans club by members of the Freemasons or “Dark Forces”.

    Yes, I’m a cynic unfortunately.

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