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Phillip Herron and his children: What will happen to them, now that Universal Credit-driven poverty has pushed him into taking his own life?

It is criminal. Civil servants from the Department for Work and Pensions might as well have killed Phillip Herron themselves:

A debt-ridden single dad of three who had waited weeks for Universal Credit took his own life — with just £4.61 left in his bank account.

Phillip Herron, 34, was trying to feed and clothe his family while out of work, falling behind with rent and trying to repay £20,000 debts — including payday loans of over 1,000 per cent interest.

He applied for government help but the month-long wait for Universal Credit drove him deeper into debt.

“That was the final nail in his coffin,” said his grieving mum Sheena Derbyshire, 54.

“When people turn to the Government for help they’re already desperate. To make them wait so long for payments is dangerous.”

But the DWP is still making excuses:

“Suicide is a very complex issue, so it would be wrong to link it solely to someone’s benefit claim.

“We are committed to safeguarding vulnerable claimants and keep guidance under constant review to provide the highest standard of protection.”

This is not true.

In fact, the DWP has been found to have ignored its own safeguarding rules whenever it suits that government department to do so – and if benefit claimants die, nobody cares.

Consider the case of Jodey Whiting. The DWP failed to follow its own safeguarding rules no less than five times in the weeks leading to her suicide in February 2017.

The DWP also destroyed a report on other safeguarding failures – in only 18 London job centres – rather than allow it to become public after a Freedom of Information request was submitted for its release.

After Ms Whiting’s death, and the failures that were identified, the Department for Work and Pensions should have done everything possible to ensure that nobody else was driven to suicide. That has not happened. Relatives of the deceased just get a message of false sympathy and an excuse.

Responsibility for Mr Herron’s death, ultimately, lies with Work and Pensions Secretary Amber Rudd and with the DWP’s Permanent Secretary, top civil servant Peter Schofield.

How long must we wait until they are held to account for it?

Source: Single dad with just £4.61 took own life after waiting weeks for Universal Credit – Mirror Online

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