Thanks are due to Newcastle Labour MP Chi Onwurah, who has supported the petition for the DWP to honour Vox Political‘s Freedom of Information request on ESA deaths.
Mrs Onwurah, who led a Commons debate on the benefits system earlier this year, said: “One of the most powerful and distressing examples in my debate was of a man who had committed suicide.
“If someone dies after being fit to work it doesn’t necessarily mean that being found fit to work had an impact in their death, so I can understand that the Government might fear the figures would be misinterpreted.
“But if the Government has figures then they should share those, and allow people to interpret them fairly.
“This isn’t just a matter of dry statistics. It is about about the health-affecting impact that having been fond fit to work can have on claimants.
“And I know that because I see them in my surgery on a regular basis.
“When bad decisions are made I know they can have a life-destroying impact on vulnerable people. So it makes sense for the Government to share that data.”
In January this year, Mrs Onwurah told MPs that a constituent had committed suicide after being found fit for work.
She said: “My constituent was found hanged in his home by a neighbour. He was well known to Newcastle Welfare Rights, from which he had received considerable support in his dealings with the Department for Work and Pensions.
“He had been in receipt of employment and support allowance, and previously incapacity benefit, and he was engaging well with Newcastle Welfare Rights until November 2013, when he underwent a work capability assessment.”
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