Benefit changes are killing the vulnerable, say campaigners

The late David Clapson [Image: petition site].

The late David Clapson [Image: petition site].

The sister of a mentally ill man who starved to death in David Cameron’s constituency after his benefits were wrongly cut has accused the Government of “killing the very vulnerable”, as official figures emerged suggesting dozens of people could have died in similar circumstances, according to The Independent – one of the few mainstream news sources that has cottoned on to the government’s agenda.

Freedom of Information requests by the Disability News Service revealed that the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has investigated decisions made about welfare payments following the deaths of 60 people since 2012 – the first time the DWP has tacitly admitted there could be a link.

However, campaigners believe the number of deaths could be far higher, claiming the changes to benefit rules have amounted to “passive euthanasia”.

A public meeting in Witney in Oxfordshire on Thursday (November 27, 2014) will hear from the sisters of two men who died after their benefits were cut, Mark Wood, 44 and David Clapson, 59. Mr Wood, who had a number of mental health problems, was found starved to death last year after his benefits were reduced to £40 a week because he was deemed fit for work. A government review later found that this decision had been a mistake.


The Prime Minister has said his death was “tragic” and pledged to “help find the answers to make sure that lessons are learnt”. However, Mr Wood’s sister Cathie Wood, 49, said she felt that members of the Government believed “these people aren’t worth having around”.

“They must, in their secret hearts, think that,” she said. “It worked; he died. They say they want to protect the very vulnerable, and they are killing the very vulnerable. I think it is a really huge, hidden scandal and there are going to be more people who die this winter.”

“I feel [benefit] sanctions are cruel and harsh on the weak and vulnerable, which my brother had become through no fault of his own,” [David Clapson’s] sister Gill Thompson said. “My brother didn’t create [a fuss], he just walked away … he wasn’t one for a scene. My brother has gone, there is nothing can be done to bring him back. All I want now is lessons to be learnt and no one else to die, and his passing not to be without meaning.”

Read more on The Independent‘s website.

Follow me on Twitter: @MidWalesMike

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10 thoughts on “Benefit changes are killing the vulnerable, say campaigners

  1. Tony Dean

    The media/press are not reporting that people are shouting “murderer” at Iain Duncan Smith every time he appears out in public either. The Independent article looks like something they printed reluctantly.

  2. Jeffrey Davies

    The Prime Minister has said his death was “tragic” and pledged to “help find the answers to make sure that lessons are learnt poppy cock
    the only lessons learned by this lot is to hide such abuse and deaths away from prying eyes learn a lesson nah they just carry on with it jeff3

  3. Nick

    mike the death of mark wood was indeed a great shock to me as we look so much alike that neighbors around me thought it was me or i was his brother

    I’m only 8 stone at 6.2 so i know first hand how mark must have felt before his death

    my lowest i have been is 6 stone and i can tell you now thats a very scary place to be as the mind plays so many tricks on you you have to stay in bed or you will fall down

    his death still and always will do play heavily on my mind

  4. tommaz jay

    What says it all about this despot unelected assembly at the palace of despair in Westminster by the lake is the fact that the results of inquiry into the death has been postponed untill after the election. God forbid that the plebs draw their own conclusions from the results. I can hear Smith shouting on question time about what a unfair advantage this would give the opposition if they were published.Totally unbelievable, totaly typical of an elite that sees the disable, sick, unemployed and disabled as merely political collateral damage.
    God help us and the pensioners if by any miracle they get back into power.

  5. Chris Kitcher

    Unfortunately the Tory bast**ds have convinced the better off that people such as this do not deserve respect and help. We have descended into a rotten state that worships money at the expense of everything else and if you are poor it is your own fault. How far do we have to descend before we reach the bottom and realise the horrors of Tory policy for good people?

  6. Jim Round

    Hope the public enquiry gets a good turnout, it’s the only way to change things.
    I wonder if anyone has ever been to one of his MP surgeries and brought things like this up, be interesting to hear his comments.

Comments are closed.