Tories won’t examine staggering increase in ESA-related suicide attempts and deaths since 2010. That tells you everything you need to know


This Writer started demanding benefit-related death figures from the Department for Work and Pensions back in 2013.

I had learnt from campaigner Samuel Miller that the DWP was refusing to update its document Incapacity Benefits: Deaths of Recipients, published two years previously, which had shown that around 222 people were dying every week, while claiming incapacity benefits.

It took a further two years for me to crowbar the statistics from the DWP’s clutches. By then, the number of deaths had risen to 692 per week.

At the time (August 2015), the DWP strenuously asserted that “any causal effect between benefits and mortality cannot be assumed from these statistics”.

That’s very similar to the comment at the end of the DNS story (below), that suicide was “a very complex issue, so it would be wrong to link it solely to anyone’s benefit claim”.

Maybe – but the figures very clearly indicate that something badly wrong has been happening to people claiming Employment and Support Allowance since the Conservatives took office in 2010.

But the Tories have resisted all efforts to encourage official research into it.

Isn’t that damning?

“Staggering” new figures show that the proportion of people claiming the main out-of-work disability benefit who have attempted suicide doubled between 2007 and 2014.

The new analysis of NHS statistics, being published for the first time by Disability News Service (DNS), shows that in 2007 – a year before the introduction of the much-criticised work capability assessment (WCA) – 21 per cent of incapacity benefit (IB) claimants told researchers they had attempted suicide at some point in their lives.

By 2014, following four years of social security reforms under the new coalition government, and austerity-related cuts to disability benefits and services – and six years of the WCA – more than 43 per cent of claimants were saying they had attempted suicide.

The figures therefore strongly suggest that government cuts and reforms, and particularly the introduction of the WCA, have had a serious, detrimental – and sometimes fatal – effect on the mental health of a generation of claimants of out-of-work disability benefits.

Disabled activists, who have spent years highlighting serious concerns about the impact of the WCA, have told DNS this week that ministers must now be held accountable for the damage they have caused and for repeatedly covering up links between the WCA and suicides.

A Department for Work and Pensions spokeswoman refused to say if the minister for disabled people, Sarah Newton, agreed that the WCA and the government’s austerity-related ESA policies had had a significant negative impact on the mental health of ESA claimants, or whether she would launch an inquiry into the links.

But she said in a statement that suicide was “a very complex issue, so it would be wrong to link it solely to anyone’s benefit claim” and that the government’s welfare reforms were “restoring fairness” and “supporting people into work”.

Source: ‘Staggering’ ESA suicide figures prompt calls for inquiry and prosecution of ministers

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6 thoughts on “Tories won’t examine staggering increase in ESA-related suicide attempts and deaths since 2010. That tells you everything you need to know

  1. Dez

    These latest broadly based figures are truly staggering and should be thoroughly investigated …….but not by the potential perpetrators who will never admit to their wrong doing. This is equivalent to several aircraft losses, multiple tower block fires etc which would drench media front pages and headlines for months……yet not one peep from any of the tory rags or real independant investigators

  2. Justin

    unfortunately for the poor old DWP there is a test called the star test, most people using services have these tests done as part of there health and wellbeing cycle and well that in itself can reveal some interesting patterns, I know, I seen one myself and guess when the low point was, well what a surprise, during the run up to a fitness to work medical, during the subsequent tribunal and what happened after the tribunal went in that persons favour, a miracle they slowly got better, did it save anyone any money,no, they won the tribunal, had to be back paid, took complaints ongoing against the wca people involved and re-engaged with NHS Services, is that a one of incident, no it is not, are they saving anything, ask a cash strapped NHS Trust that, they tell you straight, so well done DWP, perhaps the cost of NHS Treatment caused by your ignorance should come out of the DWP Budget and be billed in part to the negligence of the companies involved in the assessments instead of giving them a nice chunky bung of money for making a mess, sounds logical of course it does, except if your a Tory Minister, anything with logic involved is normally replaced with stupidity.

  3. blackghost55

    It’s so sad all those poor souls that have lost/ended their lives since these creatures got into power… .And we have got this winter to get through yet how many will that claim I wonder? Fuel bills are so expensive especially when on benefits & low wages etc…

    We can’t all get the tax payer to pay for the electric bill to heat our stables and keep our horses warm.. or at least try to…

  4. Nick

    that’s rubbish the suicide’s were the direct result of being told one was fit for work but weren’t and that person died shortly after within a 3 month period

    Their is no doubt that some suicides were complexed but in the main and with reading between the lines over on the Facebook page remember the dead there is very clear evidence that the vast majority of deaths were the direct result of the person losing their benefit resulting in that person losing all hope and no longer wonting to live

    that’s my conclusion have looked at all of these deaths over the past 7 years

Comments are closed.