Loach heads campaigners calling for benefit assessment ban after job centre death

Pointing the finger: Ken Loach joined the call to end unfair benefit assessment interviews after the death of a man in Llanelli.

A campaign to ban benefit assessment interviews has been launched after a 65-year-old man with diabetes collapsed and died after being found ‘fit for work’.

Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC) has called on the DWP to halt assessments for Personal Independence Payment and Employment and Support Allowance after the man died while waiting for an interview to discuss his future benefit options.

Discussing the death, This Site stated: “He would have been old enough to retire if the Conservatives had not decided to raise the retirement age for both men and women in an attempt to save a few pennies.”

I wrote: “Yes, he was obviously ill. But that doesn’t mean a thing to a Tory government… They call it a ‘positive benefit outcome’.”

Others compared the tragedy to a similar scene in left-wing film-maker Ken Loach’s I, Daniel Blake.

Now Mr Loach himself has spoken in favour of DPAC’s campaign.

Unconsciously paraphrasing my words, he said (according to the Morning Star): “What has happened really was disgraceful. The man was only 65 — he only had a few more months to go and he would have been retired anyway.

“Such is the brutality of it, but it’s clear that the Tories have no intention of changing their harsh system.”

And he said: “We have to vote them out — we may as well start with Iain Duncan Smith, the architect of this misery, who is as callous as he is sanctimonious.”

That is already well in hand – as you can read here.

Demanding an end to PIP and ESA assessments, DPAC activist Jennifer Jones raised the relevant point – that a man has died in a manner that could have been prevented.

It happened because a benefit assessor “lied about his fitness levels and abilities and he wasn’t given the support that his individual needs deserved”.

She’s right – and it makes a nonsense of repeated attempts by the DWP to claim that it does provide support tailored to the needs of each benefit claimant.

So far – in this case – the DWP’s only comment has been a message of sympathy to the deceased man’s family and friends.

DPAC – and Mr Loach – have demanded an end to benefit assessment interviews, for the obvious reason that they have now been proven to do more harm than good.

But there is no way the DWP – run as it is by a Conservative government – will take such action willingly.

Labour has promised to overhaul the benefit system completely, though.

The only way to be sure this does not happen in the future is to elect a Labour government.

Source: Campaigners call for benefit assessment ban after man dies in jobcentre | Morning Star

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  1. The Toffee (597) November 19, 2019 at 10:30 am - Reply

    WHEN are these benefit ‘assessors’ going to be prosecuted for knowingly lying about people’s legitimate claims; as we’ve seen to be the case over and over & over again

    After all, they’re paid by ‘results’ , aren’t they? These peole are costing the taxpayer by their avarice and lies – probably an amount far greater than the 0.7% lost due to fraud and ERROR.**

    Court hearings and tribunals don’t come cheap.

    **Also the £50 civil penalty that people have to pay through DWP error – not their own. How many cases have the DWP lost in court, appealed and lost again? Should DWP SoS’s from ian dummkopf-schmitt to therese coffey not be made persoanlly liable for each and every single civil penalty because of DWP error?

    I think they should. They’ve allowed the faults to continue despite being told by the courts they were wrong.

  2. MARK BEVIS November 19, 2019 at 11:10 am - Reply

    “A DWP spokesman said: “Our thoughts and those of the staff at Llanelli jobcentre are with the family and friends at this time.”
    Presumably those thoughts are along the lines of ‘how do we make sure the rest of the family and friends gets no benefits either.’

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