Tag Archives: death

Why has EHRC broken promise to investigate DWP’s role in deaths of benefit claimants?

The Equality and Human Rights Commission has u-turned on a promise to investigate the role played by the Department for Work and Pensions in the deaths of vulnerable benefit claimants, it’s being reported.

Instead the EHRC are now asking the DWP to create new policies in relation to claimants with mental health issues and learning difficulties. Apparently the commission is using the Covid-19 pandemic as an excuse.

This Site forced the DWP to publish figures showing that thousands of people had died of unexplained causes after being thrown off benefits by that government department and I am deeply concerned by this failure to scrutinise whether the government caused these deaths.

And how many more people have died since I exposed those deaths seven years ago?

I shall be writing to the EHRC today, seeking a meaningful explanation for this u-turn.

UPDATE: Here’s what I have written to the EHRC:

“I was the writer who forced the DWP to admit that thousands of people have died after being thrown off benefits – for no established reason. I am deeply concerned that the EHRC has decided not to investigate the DWP’s role in the deaths of claimants and is choosing only to seek an agreement to better protect claimants – similar to other undertakings that the DWP has ignored in the past, causing more deaths. The DWP will never respect the human rights, or indeed the lives, of claimants unless it is forced to do so. I am writing to you to seek an explanation for your decision that I can publish to my readers. How will you defend this indefensible decision?”

Let’s see what response – if any – I receive.

Source: EHRC Breaks Promise To Investigate DWP Role In Deaths – The poor side of life

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Covid cases, hospital admissions and deaths surge after England relaxed restrictions

Ending Covid-19 health protections in England has turned out to be another great Boris Johnson decision, then.

According to The Mail (but I think we can trust it on this), 91,345 new cases were diagnosed between March 15 and 16 – up by one-third in a week.

Hospital admissions were up by 29 per cent on the previous week, to 1,541.

And 153 people died – a rise of a quarter on the week before.

A new sub-variant of Omicron – BA.2 – is thought to be the main factor behind the increases, in tandem with the easing of restrictions in England on February 24 and waning immunity from the vaccines – although the Office of National Statistics says it is too early to say for sure.

Health Secretary Sajid Javid reckons increases were to be “expected” and there is ‘nothing in the data at this point in time that gives us any cause for concern’.

But take a look at the trend in deaths…

… and in infections…

… and then try convincing yourself, let alone anyone else, that there’s no reason to be alarmed.

Two and a half million people infected and they think it’s a good idea to lift the restrictions that keep us all protected? It seems they really are genocidal.

Sources: UK’s Covid wave grows on all fronts

and

Covid infections rising again across UK – ONS

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DWP blocks study of links between benefit sanctions and death. What are the Tories trying to hide?

‘Bring out your dead’: this satirical image shows public opinion of the limits of DWP concern for people the Tory government department deprives of the money they need to live.

A groundbreaking study of possible links between benefit sanctions and claimant ill-health – including mental illness and suicide – has ground to a halt because Tory ministers are not co-operating.

After making a big show of supporting the Glasgow University research back in 2019, DWP ministers immediately insisted that new security protocols would be required before they released the necessary data.

It took two years for the new protocols to be completed – and when they reached completion last year, the DWP demanded that researchers should apply for the data all over again.

Prof Nick Bailey, who is heading the Glasgow sanctions project, said that had the data been shared as originally agreed with the DWP in 2018, his research would have been in the public domain by early 2020. It is now five years since the research process for the project was supposed to have started and it has yet to get under way.

“The consequence for both policymakers and benefit claimants is we continue to operate an important policy, sanctions, which has potentially substantial consequences for those affected by it but with very little evidence of the impact of the policy, and almost none on the wider impacts,” said Bailey.

A recent Glasgow University paper analysing international studies of sanctions reported “significant associations with increased material hardship and health problems” as well as evidence sanctions “were associated with increased child maltreatment and poorer child wellbeing”.

The DWP has said it is now “actively considering” the data request that was originally made back in 2018 – nearly four years ago.

But what are we – the public – to make of this?

Does the Department for Work and Pensions have something to hide – such as complicity in the deaths of thousands of benefit claimants?

This Writer – and This Site – forced the government to reveal that thousands of people had died of unexplained causes within two weeks of being denied their benefits, all the way back in 2015.

Nothing was done to research the deaths – or to find out what had happened to people who had been denied benefits after the two-week period the DWP monitored.

And that was nearly seven years ago.

It seems to me that the DWP is deliberately concealing information on behalf of its masters in the Conservative government; the demand for extraordinary security procedures is just an excuse.

And it seems to me that there can be only one reason for hiding the information – that there is a link between benefit sanctions and claimant deaths, and DWP bosses have known about it for many years.

I challenge the DWP – and the Conservative government – to prove me wrong.

Source: DWP blocks data for study of whether benefit sanctions linked to suicide | Benefits | The Guardian

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Tributes pour in for left-wing social media activist Maureen Fitzsimmons

This Writer is one of many who will be mourning the loss of a genuine asset to UK politics today.

Like many, I never met Maureen Fitzsimmons in real life; I only communicated with her on the social media, where her comments were a breath of fresh air amid the murk and miasma of Tory neoliberals and New New Labour backstabbers.

Her tweets enliven many Vox Political articles and much of my Twitter feed.

Tributes have been pouring into Twitter – and if you’re not following any of the accounts below, you should; they all support the kind of sensible politics that Maureen advocated.

Here’s a selection:

The DWP doesn’t want you to see this disability deaths documentary. Please tune in

Make a note in your diary: Channel 4, Friday, December 17 (tomorrow), 7.30pm, Dispatches: The Truth About Disability Benefits.

The Department for Work and Pensions doesn’t want anybody to see it, apparently.

It’s a documentary investigating the unexpected deaths of disabled benefits claimants, including those who have taken their own lives.

It’s been scheduled at short notice – but the DWP will be taking very careful note of viewing figures for this programme, hoping that it attracts a smaller audience than usual, as this can then be shown as proof that there really isn’t any great public interest in the lives and deaths of benefits claimants.

As the website Benefits and Work states,

If that’s the case, they can carry on denying there’s a problem and keep on covering up the suffering inflicted on disabled claimants by a heartless system.

But the more people who watch the documentary, the harder it will be for the department to brush aside its findings.

And the more likely that others will begin investigating the secrecy surrounding almost everything the DWP does.

Long-term readers of This Site will know that I spent more than two years fighting for the DWP to release up-to-date death statistics on people claiming the sickness benefit Employment and Support Allowance (and its forerunners).

The Information Commissioner’s Office eventually forced the government department to release its figures in August 2015 – but it could only provide those for people who had died within two weeks of having their benefits cancelled as civil servants do not follow up on what happens to people beyond that time.

This means that a lot of information about the fate of claimants whose benefits have been cancelled is hidden from the general public – but the little I was able to secure was damning, as it showed that thousands of people had died for unexplained reasons within the three years covered by my Freedom of Information request.

I would have pursued the matter further but we all know what happened next: I reported on false claims of anti-Semitism against members of the Labour Party and was then accused of anti-Semitism myself. I’ve spent the last five years fighting those falsehoods in one form or another.

So I’m glad that John Pring of the Disability News Service has been pushing matters forward.

It seems he was the one who contacted TV production companies around three years ago (2018?) calling for a documentary to be made, and the Dispatches film will apparently tell the stories of the DWP’s disabled victims.

Benefits and Work quotes Mr Pring as saying:

“Those stories are shocking. What is almost as shocking is that we are still waiting for an in-depth, independent inquiry into DWP’s repeated failures over the last decade – and even earlier than that – to learn from its mistakes and make its assessment system safe. 

“Countless disabled people have died because of that failure. We need an inquiry now.”

The documentary is filmed and presented by disabled film-maker Richard Butchins, who has had personal experience of the DWP’s ways.

Relatives of deceased claimants will be speaking out on television for the first time, to explain how the system contributed to the deaths of their loved ones.

And there is testimony from a DWP whistleblower who describes a dismissive and mocking attitude toward claimants among staff at the department.

Allow me to reiterate: the Tory government wants this show to get low viewing figures so it can put out propaganda saying the British public don’t care if a few (hundred)(thousand) cripples croak it after being denied the payments they need to live.

So we need as many people to be told about it as possible.

If you can tell your family and friends, please do. Let’s make sure this is something the Tories can’t lie about.

Source: The Truth About Disability Benefits The DWP Don’t Want You To See

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Did refugees who died in Channel include Afghan soldier endangered by UK withdrawal?

Not ‘migrants’ – ‘refugees’, ‘asylum-seekers’ or simply people: and the boat pictured here is much sturdier than the one in which 31 people have died.

Now the Tory government is twice damned over the deaths of 31 refugees while they were trying to cross the Channel to the UK.

It seems one of the people in the boat that sank was an Afghan soldier who had worked with Armed Forces from the UK.

It has been revealed that UK authorities left behind a wealth of information, including the identities of Afghan nationals who worked with them, when they scuttled off like rabbits for the planes out of that country.

Afterwards, it seems, no help has been provided to those people, despite the evidence that their lives are in danger as a result of UK government bungling.

So it’s no wonder if one family had tried to make their own way out to seek asylum – rightly, of course – in the country they had helped:

Sadly, that family ran into the wall of exclusion that has been put up by the same Tory government that had endangered them. Court action has been launched against the Tories over that policy, but too late for these people:

Priti Patel, the Home Secretary whose policy is the basis for the court action, has dutifully expressed her sorrow at the loss of lives, and done… nothing else. This casts doubt upon her sincerity:

And she’s not the only one:

(Labour’s Keir Starmer attacked the Tories, only last week, for failing to block all refugees from getting onto UK shores.)

Of course the Tories and their client journalists are closing ranks. The cover story is that refugees are not safe because they are resorting to people traffickers to smuggle them into the UK, and these criminals are putting them on craft that are deathtraps:

Fine words from Natalie Elphicke, who herself was caught trying to pervert the course of justice by influencing legal proceedings against her husband Charlie. Her punishment was one day’s suspension from Parliament, which is an odd penalty for a criminal offence.

Ms Elphicke was also found to be one of the MPs who have a second job – at the height of the corruption scandal over these forms of employment – and to be a hypocrite who said Marcus Rashford should concentrate on his day job (football) rather than campaign for school children to have decent meals during the Covid pandemic.

In her comments she also ignored the fact that all the legal routes into the UK have been closed by her colleague in the Home Office. And there’s also this:

So the Tory government had closed legal routes into the UK, but if someone manages to get here by other means and then claim asylum, that claim is legal.

Enter Tory journalist Quentin Letts to trot out the lie that these people come to the UK with “expectations” that they can get benefits here, that they can get a job here, and that the UK is “a soft touch”. When he appeared on Good Morning Britain with that nonsense he got short shrift:

Bringing this back to the Afghan soldier who was said to be in the boat: if the claim is true, he wasn’t coming because he thought the UK was “a soft touch”; he was coming because he had been endangered by the UK government – the Tories who are now so desperately trying to justify themselves with lies about criminals and benefits.

Lies told by killers – whether overt or inadvertent. The refugees and asylum-seekers are the innocent and blameless.

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Here’s some of the anti-Palestinian racism and terrorism that Keir Starmer’s Labour loves

Keir Starmer: like Priti Patel, he seems to support terrorism rather than condemn it.

It didn’t take long, after Priti Patel announced that the UK was to proscribe the political organisation that forms the government of Palestine, for the attacks on Jeremy Corbyn to start landing.

Here’s some ‘Mercan called Jackson Wolf Pincus demonstrating the kind of ignorance we have come to expect from people of – shall we say – a certain persuasion:

Rather than shut up, though, Jackson doubled down – prompting a well-deserved put-down as follows:

Yes indeed, it does seem the case that Jeremy Corbyn’s pacifist, anti-terror stance appeals both to supporters of Palestinian self-determination and to non-racist Jews (and you should bear in mind that many people are both).

The Hamas story also led to debate about whether Patel’s decision was justified, or if other organisations or governments might deserve similar treatment.

The government of Israel, perhaps?

It’s an accurate criticism. There’s a very clear paper trail that leads from MPs – on all sides of Parliament – to the Israeli Embassy and that nation’s government. Many of our MPs appear to be in that government’s pocket.

Among them is Keir Starmer, the Labour Party leader who persecutes both Muslims and left-wing Jews, sparing his sympathy only for those who echo his wholehearted support for apartheid Israel and its violence to the Palestinians it holds captive.

So it should be no surprise that Starmer has whipped Labour MPs to support Patel’s proscription of Hamas. He wants to make sure Palestinians know that the UK supports Israel against them, no matter which party is in power, never mind the fact that Labour is supposed to support self-determination for both Israel and Palestine, and never mind the fact that Labour’s sovereign decision-maker – the party conference – voted to condemn Israel in September.

Many people, it seems, believe Starmer is right to support Israeli atrocities. Perhaps they don’t understand what is really going on.

If you know such people, show them this:

Let’s focus down onto Palestinian children. Many of us have kids, right?

How would we feel if our children were treated in the same way as those in the thread below – bearing in mind that Keir Starmer supports, to the hilt, everything that has happened to them?

It’s a catalogue of terror – and one that is incomplete because I am sure there are many murders that are hushed up by the Israeli authorities.

Keir Starmer supports this terror, and so does Priti Patel. Remember that she was forced to resign from Theresa May’s cabinet after trying to run her own policy on Israel, using public money, during and after a visit to that country to meet top politicians there, while claiming to be on holiday.

Nobody should excuse deaths and other harm that Hamas or other Palestinians have caused. Blame for the Israel-Palestine conflict lies on both sides.

But when one starts bandying around words like “terrorist”, one should apply it fairly.

Looking at the way Israel forces Palestinian people to live, and the disproportionate number of deaths and injuries suffered by Palestinians in comparison to Israeli, it is clear that Palestine is not the only country run by terrorists.

What does that say about its supporters like Starmer and Patel – and all those UK politicians who have taken money in return for their support?

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Tragedy in the Channel as 31 PEOPLE die. The real refugee crisis is these deaths


Public figures including Priti Patel and Boris Johnson have rushed to mouth condolences after 31 people, including five women and a girl, died in the English Channel while trying to reach the UK.

It’s sickening hypocrisy from the government that has done its best to ensure that people are more likely to drown than reach our shores.

And what happens if we find evidence that Patel’s Home Office policies contributed to the deaths?

Remember: Patel’s Nationality and Borders Bill proposes that anyone arriving in the UK by an illegal route, such as by a small boat across the Channel, could have their claim ruled as inadmissible, receive a jail sentence of up to four years, have no recourse to public funds, and could have their family members barred from joining them, in breach of the UN refugee convention and the European Convention on Human Rights.

It states that refugees should use safe legal routes – but there are no such routes.

Clause 38 of the Bill potentially criminalises rescuers of asylum seekers if they are deemed to be “facilitating” their arrival in the UK. It has already set Patel at odds with the Royal National Lifeboat Institution, which has a Royal Charter to rescue anybody facing drowning within UK territorial waters – no matter what their legal status may be.

The Home Office has said the Bill is intended to target “ruthless people smugglers” and organisations like the RNLI – and individuals – would be allowed to continue humanitarian rescue work – but mere assertion doesn’t cut any ice. If so, why amend the law to criminalise all rescues?

Now consider the rhetoric coming from the Tories after today’s tragedy – the biggest single loss of life in the Channel since the International Organisation for Migration started collecting data in 2014.

Boris Johnson said the UK would leave “no stone unturned” to stop human trafficking gangs.

He was trying to justify the unreasonable and potentially fatal policy in his government’s Bill.

As for Priti Patel: It turns out she was told back in November 2019 that her policies were causing asylum-seekers to use more dangerous routes into the UK:

“A policy that focuses exclusively on closing borders will drive migrants to take more dangerous routes, and push them into the hands of criminal groups,” the report said.

She wasn’t interested then – possibly because the report’s advice was to provide more legal routes for asylum-seekers to enter the UK, and to address their reasons for wanting to leave their own lands. She is keen to continue ensuring there are no legal routes.

So Tory policy is to ensure that refugees/asylum seekers have no choice but to use illegal means to arrive in the UK – even if it means they may drown.

They have stoked hatred against these people – who may be fleeing the effects of warfare in their own countries, either caused directly by Western governments like the UK’s Tory administration, or using weapons sold to the combatants by those governments.

And they have falsely claimed there is a refugee crisis in the UK, with the number of refugees spiralling out of control.

Take a look at the graph below. Does it look like the UK has a serious crisis to you?

Oh, and Keir Starmer and his Labour racists aren’t blameless either.

Only last week, Starmer accused the government of failing to do enough to stop crossings: “The home secretary repeatedly says in strong language what she is going to do about the immediate problem and delivers absolutely nothing,” he said.

But it isn’t Starmer’s opponents’ territory; it’s his own because he is as racist as Patel and Johnson.

Given his comments, he should not be allowed to claim any moral high ground if Tory government policy is indeed found to have contributed to this tragedy.

The solution is to open up legal routes into the UK and treat people using them as human beings who deserve to have their reasons for coming here judged fairly. It always was.

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Ambulance crew says people are dying because Tories are defunding & privatising NHS

This is damning – and it confirms what This Writer suggested earlier:

It isn’t sustainable at all, and we know why. Firstly, the Conservatives have withdrawn huge amounts of funding from the National Health Service:

Secondly, much of what little remains is being given to private companies that aim to profit from your illness rather than improving your health. They are making matters worse:

By the way, let’s not hear anything about Covid-19 making matters worse. Those days are long past:

From the graph, it seems 5,000 beds or fewer are taken up with Covid-19 patients.

The real Covid problem, of course, has always been that too many NHS beds have been removed altogether from the service – possibly because of the defunding that created a staff shortage of 100,000?

Sadly the NHS crisis will continue under the Conservatives because they want to privatise health altogether; they don’t see the profit in a healthy nation.

And a Labour government under Keir Starmer won’t help because his policies align with those of the Tories on most issues including this.

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

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Jodey Whiting had an incurable condition. Why did the DWP try to force her into a benefit reassessment?

Death by DWP: Jodey Whiting.

This is a good question – triggered in This Writer’s mind by a reference to a different case.

Please read the following Twitter thread, which was prompted by a tweet referring to the death of DWP benefit claimant Philippa Day:

Yes, why does the DWP force people with incurable or terminal conditions to prove that they still have a lifelong disability or are still dying?

Reading those words, I thought about Jodey Whiting. She had a number of disabilities, including scoliosis which – as far as I can tell – is an incurable condition that requires constant treatment for the length of the sufferer’s life. If untreated, it could be life-threatening.

So it was pointless to demand that she attend a work capability assessment, because it was impossible for her condition to have improved. It could only worsen.

There is an argument that a WCA could take place to ascertain whether a claimant’s payments should increase – but that cannot be used as justification in Ms Whiting’s case because her benefits were stopped.

The DWP’s Green Paper on Disability, released in July this year (2021), acknowledges that it is pointless to keep reassessing people with lifelong and/or terminal conditions and proposes the creation of a Severe Disability Group (SDG). People put in this group would not have to face reassessment.

If the DWP is admitting that it is unreasonable for people with lifelong conditions to face constant reassessment now, then it would also be unreasonable to suggest that they should have faced constant reassessment in February 2017, when Ms Whiting took her own life.

Strangely, this does not seem to have been considered by the High Court when it rejected an appeal for a second inquest into Ms Whiting’s death, last month (October).

I wonder why the court did not consider that the absence of necessity for the assessment that led to Ms Whiting’s benefits being cut was a material consideration in her case.

There’s now a second appeal for another inquest. Perhaps the point could be made this time around?

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/mike-sivier-libel-fight/


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