Mainstream media wakes up to benefit sanctions’ death toll

A poster against benefits sanctions in Salford.

Is it because the BBC’s drama Casualty ran a storyline about malnutrition caused by benefit sanctions last night (Saturday)?

Whatever the reason, today’s Observer carries a welcome story highlighting the fact that people have been pushed to suicide as a result of benefits sanctions “in austerity Britain”.

The article states that the Department for Work and Pensions is investigating 60 claimant suicides with possible connections to benefit sanctions. It continues: “This week the [Commons] work and pensions select committee will hold its first oral evidence session for its inquiry into benefits sanctions policy following last year’s limited Oakley review.

“Many of those visiting Salford Central food bank, run by the Trussell Trust, have experienced benefits sanctions. The refuge provides half a tonne of food each week to Salford’s residents and was expected to have fed more than 3,500 individuals by the end of 2014. More than 60% of those who come there have had their benefits sanctioned, according to an internal report by Salford city council. The report concluded that sanctioning could lead to extreme hardship, reliance on loan sharks, shoplifting and depression.”

This is a welcome admission by the mainstream media that there is a serious problem with the Conservative-led Coalition Government’s benefits policy.

At a time when the Tories are planning to cut back spending on benefits even further, let us hope members of the reading public can draw their own conclusions about the “compassionate Conservatism” that David Cameron was trying to push on The Andrew Marr Show this morning.

Follow me on Twitter: @MidWalesMike

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22 thoughts on “Mainstream media wakes up to benefit sanctions’ death toll

  1. Jeffery Davies

    Its great pity that bbc dont follow some of the real news in its programs
    it seems their masters who dont pay their fees only the plebs but the plebs
    get the unholy news yes its all rosie in the tory garden

    1. Gavin MacMillan

      It’s not just the BBC. And sadly, while coverage in the Observer is welcome let’s be honest here – this is not exactly an high coverage newspaper, especially in comparison to the redtops, and radio 4 is not exactly listened to by the majority of the voting public either… 🙁

      1. Mike Sivier Post author

        Radio 4 gets very high ratings, especially among people who vote. You’re probably thinking of Radio 1.
        That’s something for Whippersnapper to sort out.

      1. Mike Sivier Post author

        I think it’s just that other matters have grabbed more attention. UC is still bubbling under – Iain Duncan Smith wants to accelerate implementation so Labour can’t reverse it in May, for example.
        Some hope. It doesn’t work.

  2. Neil Shaplin

    I’m having a premonition…. the select committee will present their evidence; then, one of two things will happen. Either a) the committee will find no link between benefit sanctions and suicide, and the matter will be forgotten, or b) the committee WILL find a link in some cases, IDS will stamp his little feet and ignore the findings, and the matter will be forgotten. This is an election year, after all – we can’t have any stories that paint our glorious Conservative overlords in all by kind of negative light, can we?

    1. Wayne Leon

      2.2 MILLION innocent British deaths so far, CAUSED DIRECTLY because of sanctions, has already more than ‘tainted’ the Conservatives for all time.

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      I’d prefer the European Court of Human Rights, which is a Council of Europe organisation.

  3. concernedkev

    This come as no surprise that the limited numbers selected for enquiry, 60, is just a sop to try and silence campaigners who have been screaming about the injustice of the Work Capability Assessments link to deaths not just sanctions. What I find amazing is that the mainstream Observer and its sister Guardian who have done a lot to expose miscreants in the hacking scandal, Have only just discovered this crime against humanity. In the paper reviews on BBC Breakfast and later on the Andrew Marr show there was no mention of the issue and Marr had the main architect sat in front of him and failed to mention it. Andrew Neil had IDS the other week and no mention of it. Could it be that the BBC no longer employ principled investigative journalists and researchers or is the truth do not mention the elephant in the room.
    With everybody pretending they are covering the main issues while the truth is the long reach of impending exposure with regards to the Saville cover up and who was involved being held over the heads of decision makers at the BEEB so that the propaganda machine can be controlled. This is just an idea that could have foundation in truth and would explain why no one is telling us what we should know about this eugenics strategy.

  4. jen

    my son was sanctioned over Christmas an has a 18 month old and 6 month old child,they gave him £43 a week hardship payment to keep them all or a week !also a food voucher but they are all closed until the 6th of January!!its total madness,he worked until last year from leaving school and was made redundant months ago,can,t wait for the tory scum to be voted out

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      Make sure you let your preferred candidate know what you expect from them in return for your vote!

  5. Tim

    Many people are sanctioned and never understand why. Which defeats the point as far as punishment goes since if you are punished but don’t understand why the punishment won’t stop you from repeating the mistake in future. Surely there should be some kind of warnings given before sanctioning a claimant so that he/she can at least make some attempt to satisfy conditions imposed on him/her? It seems that these days people are considered guilty until proven innocent.

  6. Pieter Egriega

    One point for all those appalled by this government. Please do not write sarcastic points or what can be viewed as hysterical overreactions. This government must be brought to task for their actions, which it seems were done to target those on benefits who have developed benefits as a way of life…..however, in reality the sanctions have hit hardest the vulnerable in society……………but the government refuses to accept this!

    1. Tony Dean

      The problem is “benefits as a way of life” has no foundation in fact whatsoever.
      As a team of academics found after 8 months of research, finding any examples was like:-
      “Hunting the Yeti and Shooting Zombies.”

      1. Pieter Egriega

        My apologies, I should have put “benefits as a way of life” in quotation marks….it is the right wing justification for why they are doing this….they are not my words or my view…..but it does illustrate why clarity of language is important.

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