Only hours ago (at the time of writing), This Blog stated that the Conservative Government imposed a draconian, financially-crippling sanction system on jobseekers because they don’t want to pay any money to people who are out of work and simply don’t care if those people come to harm as a result.
Now we have figures showing that the number of sanctions is increasing – dramatically, in the case of Employment and Support Allowance claimants.
These are people who have long-term illnesses and need that money to survive.
Who is monitoring the health of these people while their sanction runs its course? Not the DWP!
And not Her Majesty’s Coroners, either, it seems.
Hertfordshire’s senior coroner, Geoffrey Sullivan, has refused to order an inquest into the death of David Clapson – on very shaky grounds, it seems to This Writer.
He said: “The evidence does not support either a direct or contributory causal link between the imposition of the benefit sanction and Mr Clapson’s death.
“In addition… there is no evidence as to whether the benefit sanction was imposed properly or not.”
Oh, really? So the fact he had less than £4 to his name, an empty stomach, and had not been able to pay for the electricity to keep his insulin at the right temperature did not suggest a link with the withdrawal of his benefits – his only means of financial support?
I don’t think that will stand up in court – which, by the way, is exactly where it is going.
Mr Clapson’s sister, Gill Thompson, has set up a crowdfunding account to pay for the latest stage in her legal battle, and to take the case to the high court.
It raised more than £5,000 of an initial £10,000 target within 48 hours but I’m still going over there to contribute, just as soon as I’ve finished this article.
I strongly urge you to do the same.
The sister of a disabled man who died after being left destitute by having his benefits sanctioned is to seek the help of the high court after a coroner refused for the second time to hold an inquest into his death.
David Clapson (pictured), who had diabetes, died in 2013 as a result of an acute lack of insulin, three weeks after having his jobseeker’s allowance (JSA) sanctioned.
Because he had no money, he couldn’t afford to pay for electricity that would have kept the fridge where he kept his insulin working, in the height of summer, and he had also run out of food.
But despite the circumstances of his death, and clear links with the sanctions system, no inquest was ever held.
Now Clapson’s sister, Gill Thompson, is to ask the high court for a judicial review of the coroner’s decision not to hold an inquest.
Her announcement came as new Department for Work and Pensions figures showed a sharp rise in the number of sanctions imposed on claimants of the out-of-work disability benefit, employment and support allowance.
In May 2016, there were 1,199 decisions taken to impose a sanction on an ESA claimant, but in June that shot up to 1,749. In January, the figure was as low as 900.
The number of JSA sanctions also rose, although not as steeply, from 12,067 in May to 14,049 in June.
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