On Employment and Support Allowance, Ms Patel isn’t sitting pretty

The new Parliamentary session is going to be very hard on Iain Duncan Smith and his team (if you can call it that) at the Department for Work and Pensions. His skiving employment minister Priti Patel discovered this on her very first day back. Ms Patel, who had the hypocrisy to criticise the UK’s workforce as lazy at a time when her own Parliamentary attendance record was among the lowest in the House of Commons, faced an inevitable series of questions on the government’s botched release of figures relating to…

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More drivel, less fact from the BBC on incapacity benefit deaths

If its reports on the deaths of state benefit claimants are any yardstick, nobody should trust the BBC’s More or Less programme as anything other than a propaganda wing of the Conservative Government. “Tim Harford explains – and sometimes debunks – the numbers and statistics used in political debate, the news and everyday life”, states the blurb on the radio programme’s web page. But More or Less has form for broadcasting drivel and, sadly, the reality of last Friday’s report on the DWP’s recent statistical releases fell far short of…

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Why the delay, DWP? The ONS has templates on calculating death rates

Did you know that the Department for Work and Pensions spent two years delaying the publication of death figures for incapacity benefit claimants when they could have been completed in a week? The Office for National Statistics provides information on how to calculate Age-Standardised Mortality Rates, including information on the size of the general population and the death rates for particular age ranges within it. You can download the templates yourself from this site. This means that the Department for Work and Pensions could have used its own figures to…

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Full Fact’s ‘fit for work’ coverage is unfit for use as toilet paper

Here’s a slimy little article for you: Sam Ashworth-Hayes’ piece on the benefit deaths at Full Fact. The fact-checking website set him to respond to reporting of the DWP’s statistical release on incapacity benefit-related deaths, and he’s done a proper little cover-up job. “It was widely reported that thousands of people died within weeks of being found ‘fit for work’ and losing their benefits,” he scribbled. “This is wrong. “Within weeks of ending a claim, not within weeks of an assessment.” Not true – unless Sam is saying the DWP has failed to answer my…

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Known number of deaths while claiming incapacity benefits nears 100,000

The Department for Work and Pensions has admitted defeat in its attempt to hide the number of people who have died while claiming incapacity benefits since November 2011 – and has announced that the number who died between January that year and February 2014 is a shocking 91,740. This represents an increase to an average of 99 deaths per day or 692 per week, between the start of December 2011 and the end of February 2014 – compared with 32 deaths per day/222 per week between January and November 2011. The DWP…

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Unrepentant IDS will persecute the sick no matter what the death statistics say

The publication of the DWP’s damped-down death statistics (we’ll be given ratios because the actual number of deaths is too inflammatory, we’re told) will be a victory for those of us who have campaigned for the facts, no matter what they actually say. If you didn’t know already, the DWP only announced that it would publish these figures on Thursday (August 27) after This Writer supplied his submission to the Information Tribunal on the DWP’s appeal against providing the actual numbers – a submission which included a request to have the…

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Location revealed for ‘benefit-related deaths’ Tribunal hearing in November

The First-tier Tribunal (Information Rights) has provided details of the venue for the ‘benefit-related deaths’ hearing at which the DWP will appeal for permission not to publish the exact number of people who have died while claiming incapacity benefits since November 2011. It will be at Field House, 15 Bream’s Buildings, London EC4A 1DZ, starting at 10am on November 10 this year. Apparently it’s a five-minute walk from Chancery Lane tube station; those of you with disabilities will need to plan extra time to allow for your conditions (although obviously…

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Zac and Sarah don’t exist – why should we believe anything from the DWP?

How can we trust the Department for Work and Pensions’ figures on incapacity benefit claimants’ deaths when we’ve had scandal after scandal from it over falsified evidence? The Department for Work and Pensions has been caught out in another lie – this time over the existence of people in two fake ‘case studies’ used to promote its cruel, unfair and vindictive sanctions regime. ‘Sarah’ was quoted praising the DWP for threatening to withdraw benefits if she refused to complete her CV, while ‘Zac’ praised the new benefit rules, which had…

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Iain Duncan Smith accused of planning to ‘fudge’ benefit death stats – Mirror Online

View it as blowing my own trumpet if you like, but This Writer could not let the quiet announcement that the DWP will be publishing its doctored death statistics go by without a splash in the papers. The Daily Mirror has been brilliant on this whole story and its latest article continues the run: The department [of work and pensions] today announced a series of documents will be published on Thursday August 27th, detailing the number of deaths for people on out-of-work benefits, Employment and Support Allowance, Incapacity Benefit or…

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Date set for tribunal hearing over benefit-related deaths

An appeal by the Department for Work and Pensions, against being forced to reveal the exact number of people who have died while claiming social security benefits, will be heard by a tribunal in November – if it gets that far. The DWP appealed to the First-tier Tribunal (Information Rights) on May 28, after the Information Commissioner ruled that it should honour a Freedom of Information (FoI) request by Vox Political writer Mike Sivier. The request demanded the exact number of deaths of people claiming Incapacity Benefit and Employment and Support…

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