For the DWP to admit any responsibility, no matter how small, opens up the opportunity for bereaved families to seek reparations from the government department – and from the ministers who enacted the measures that helped take their loved ones’ lives.
Link this with the fact that ministers refused to enact changes to the Work Capability Assessment, despite having been advised to do so by civil servant ‘peer reviews’ into some of the deaths, and the situation is looking very black for people like Iain Duncan Smith and Chris Grayling.
Isn’t there already a legal action taking place against them, in Scotland?
The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has finally admitted that it could be partly responsible for the deaths of some benefit claimants.
The admission came – quietly – after its release of heavily-redacted versions of 49 secret “peer reviews” into benefit-related deaths, following the loss of a 21-month battle with Disability News Service (DNS) to keep them secret.
Since DNS first revealed the existence of the 49 reviews, DWP has repeatedly insisted that it was “wrong” and “misleading” to link the deaths of disabled people to their benefit claims.
But now, following the publication of the 49 reviews, its position has changed.
In response to a story in The Guardian about the publication of the peer reviews – co-authored by DNS editor John Pring – a DWP spokesperson said: “Any suicide is a tragedy and the reasons for them are complex, however it would be inaccurate and misleading to link it solely to a person’s benefit claim.”
The use of the word “solely” means that ministers have now accepted that the actions of their department can be partly responsible for benefit claimants taking their own lives, and for other benefit-related deaths.
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