Tag Archives: suicide

Web of lies around Priti Patel bullying report: why is she protected if she pushes people to suicide?

I don’t like it when people in my government lie to me.

I have a feeling I share that opinion with many people.

Priti Patel seized on the part of Alex Allan’s report into bullying allegations against her, that said she had not been warned that her behaviour towards civil service employees exceeded the bounds of acceptability.

But it seems that this was because Sir Alex was prevented from interviewing Sir Philip Rutnam, the former Permanent Secretary to the Home Office, who is suing the government for constructive dismissal.

According to The Guardian,

sources say Allan was informed he could not interview Rutnam because of the legal action. Allan, however, felt that his inquiry was being denied potentially crucial evidence.

Rutnam… said she was clearly advised not to shout and swear at staff the month after her appointment in 2019 and that he told her to treat staff with respect “on further occasions”.

The indication that Sir Alex was prevented from interviewing Sir Philip suggests that his claim is correct. Priti Patel – as the person who was given the advice – would therefore have known she had it.

So it seems she lied, in order to make herself look better. That in itself is despicable.

Worse still, we hear that the prime minister – Boris Johnson – himself asked for the report on Patel to be “palatable”. Doesn’t this suggest that he didn’t want the facts – just something he could use to deflect criticism?

Is it any wonder that Sir Alex resigned after Johnson ignored even the findings of his report as it eventually appeared?

Finally, there is the odious spectacle of Tory MPs and ministers rallying to support Patel – a colleague whose loathsome behaviour appears to have pushed one employee into attempting suicide:

Mr Khan attempted to endorse it because his boss told him to help “form a square around the Prittster”.

So now we have an increasing number of Conservative MPs – and, presumably, other Tories – trying to deceive us all into accepting that there’s no reason for Priti Patel to be removed from office.

It seems one bad apple really can spoil the whole barrel. Or were they already spoiled and this episode just showed us the extent of it?

Source: Boris Johnson ‘asked for Patel report to be palatable’, source claims – BBC News

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Tory irresponsibility: Sunak financial statement sparked four suicides in Merseyside

Who, exactly, are the Tories helping with the hundreds of billions of pounds they have borrowed?

According to the latest projections, the government is likely to have borrowed £316.4 billion more than last year, mostly on Covid-19-related measures.

That’s about £5,000 per person and This Writer can’t help thinking the money would have been better-spent if the Tories had just given it to each of us and told us to stay at home.

Instead, they devised a series of financial packages to fit people in certain circumstances – and to ignore others.

That’s the reason the Liverpool Echo is reporting that four people in Merseyside were known to have committed suicide after hearing Rishi Sunak’s most recent financial statement.

The Echo quotes Anneka Hicks of Excluded UK, an organisation to help a large proportion of the workforce who have been cut out of any ‘meaningful government support schemes’:

Over the past eight months many of our members have had to sell their homes, their cars – they have depleted their entire life savings.

They’ve lost their dignity. Many of them have been forced to take state benefits (if they can) and use food banks to feed their families, they’ve lost their businesses or made redundancies.

They are expected to start again with nothing, or less than nothing.

Sadly, we lost four members to suicide within 72 hours of the chancellor’s latest financial statement, but they are only the people we know about.

There are more details in the Echo article but look at the heartlessness of the government response:

We’ve acknowledged that not everyone has been helped in the way they would have wanted, but overall the Government has provided a huge amount to help businesses and families through this crisis.

The scheme’s eligibility criteria are designed to most effectively target support to low earners and prevent fraud.

It seems clear that it isn’t working.

And now Sunak wants people like these to pay increased taxes. One of them points out

I pay my taxes every year, I expected something back from that.

How can Sunak expect money from people he deliberately locked out of any help – or the families of people who have died as a result of his policies?

Source: ‘Four suicides within 72 hours of Rishi Sunak statement’ says campaigner – Liverpool Echo

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Will new inquest into death of ESA claimant Jodey Whiting show failure of DWP safeguarding?

Jodey Whiting, 42, took her own life after her benefits were stopped.

Permission for a new inquest into the death of ESA claimant Jodey Whiting has been granted amid concern that a government department’s role in it had been covered up.

Here is the announcement from solicitors Leigh Day:

“The family of Jodey Whiting has been granted permission to apply to the High Court for a fresh inquest into her death after new evidence was submitted about the effect on her of a Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) decision to halt the benefits on which she was entirely dependent.

“Jodey’s mother, Joy Dove, was granted permission by the office of the Attorney General following her submission that the original inquest into her daughter’s death was insufficient. The new evidence she submitted in support of her application included an investigation into the handling of Jodey’s benefits by the DWP and a report from an independent psychiatrist.

“Jodey, from Stockton-on-Tees, died aged 42 on 21 February, 2017. She took her own life three days after she received her last Employment Support Allowance (ESA) payment.

“She had been informed on 6 February that the payments would stop and the associated housing benefit and council tax benefit payments would also be stopped.

“The decision to halt the payments was made because following a reassessment of Jodey’s entitlement to ESA, begun in 2016, she had failed to attend a work capability assessment (WCA).

“However, Jodey had requested a home visit for the WCA as she rarely left the house because of her severely poor health. She suffered multiple physical and mental health difficulties, took 23 tablets a day and was entirely dependent on welfare benefits.

“She had made in clear in her request for a home WCA that she had “suicidal thoughts a lot of the time and could not cope with work or looking for work”.

“The request was refused, the WCA was set for a date in January, and Jodey did not attend.

“After Jodey’s death, an inquest was held three months later, 24 May, 2017, which lasted less than an hour.

“The coroner declined to consider the potential role of the DWP and their acts or omissions in Jodey’s death.

“Jodey’s family were unrepresented and were unaware that they may have been entitled to publicly funded legal representation.

“After the inquest a report by an Independent Case Examiner concluded that the DWP had made multiple significant errors in how it treated Jodey.

“Some of the failings had not been known to Jodey’s family, who were horrified to learn how many failings had occurred in the handling of Jodey’s benefits.

“The opinion of an independent Consultant psychiatrist, sought by Jodey’s family,  confirmed that the DWP’s failings would probably have had a substantial effect on Jodey’s mental state at the time she took her own life.

“Joy argues that the manner in which Jodey was treated by the DWP, and in particular the withdrawal of her ESA, caused or materially contributed to her death and that, had this not occurred, Jodey’s death would not have occurred when it did.

“Following the letter giving her permission to apply for a new inquest into Jodey’s death, Joy said: “What a relief to be granted permission for a new inquest into Jodey’s death. It has been a nightmare but I want to thank the hard work of Merry Varney and all the team at Leigh Day and everyone who has been helping me with the Justice for Jodey campaign. This is a big step forward.

““I love my daughter so much and this should never have happened. How could they say she was fit to work? What they put her through was terrible, but I hope that this will mean that Jodey has saved others from the same nightmare.”

“Joy is represented by Leigh Day partner Merry Varney, who added: “The Attorney-General’s decision is very welcome. It is the first completed step in the long journey by Jodey’s family to seek a full and fearless investigation into whether the DWP, and its flawed decision making regarding Jodey’s benefits claim, caused or contributed to her death.

“”We must now apply to the High Court and seek to persuade the Court a fresh inquest is necessary.”

“The application for a new inquest will be made to the High Court within the next 6 weeks and a final hearing may take place by summer, 2021.”

This Site has been covering this case since June 2017 and will report further developments as and when they become available.

Source: Jodey Whiting’s Family Given Permission To Apply For Second Inquest Into Her Death | Leigh Day

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A polite letter to Therese Coffey [TRIGGER WARNING]

Phillip Herron.

[Yes, this article comes with a trigger warning as it discusses matters which some people may find extremely upsetting.]

Dear Ms Coffey,

Please take a good, long look at the image accompanying this. It is the last photograph of Phillip Herron, taken minutes before he took his own life.

Mr Herron died because your employees at the Department for Work and Pensions could not be bothered to take their fingers out of their collective posteriors long enough to pay him the Universal Credit he was owed. He would undoubtedly be alive now if they had.

No doubt the DWP officers concerned would say they did not need to pay Mr Herron as Universal Credit is paid in arrears and his five-week wait had not yet ended. They were “only following orders”, they will say, echoing the so-called Nuremberg Defence that did not protect any German soldiers who were prosecuted for ensuring the deaths of so many people during World War II.

You, together with previous Work and Pensions secretaries, and many other Conservative MPs past and present, justify the wait with the mantra that delaying payment for more than a month prepares claimants for the world of work, but we all know that is not true.

It attacks their mental health. It causes depression and despair, and ultimately can lead to suicidal thoughts. Mr Herron’s death is a matter of Conservative government policy.

When he died, he had just £4.61 in his bank account and debts of more than £20,000 that were escalating due to that five-week wait for Universal Credit.

£20,000 is not a substantial sum of money in this day and age. I know you have said it is in interviews, but just take a look at your own bank balance. You probably consider that to be small change; the kind of pocket money you might spend on a night out.

It is one-sixth of the pay rise you will receive next year, just for being a member of Parliament.

It could have been handled. There are ways to ensure debt can be paid off within a reasonable period of time, no matter what the debtor’s means. But Mr Herron could not see that because your system forced him to concentrate on the negative aspects of his situation.

He saw no way out because you denied it to him. So he took his own life. His blood is on your hands. I understand DWP jargon describes that as a “positive benefit outcome”.

Now his three young children must go through life without a father – because that is what you demanded.

Their upbringing is likely to be a much greater burden on public funds than paying his Universal Credit claim – because that is what you demanded.

And there are countless others in the same predicament right now – because that is what you demand.

Your system does not help anybody. It pressurises them; it brutalises them; it forces them to consider the unthinkable – because that is what you demand.

It does not matter whether you spoke the words. You ordered the death of this man.

Please make a copy of his photograph and put it on your wall. Then, every day, when you come into work, you can spend time looking at it – and try to find a way to justify the fact that you caused him to die.

You can find more information – and more than 18,000 comments from members of the public – in this Facebook post.

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Hancock lied yet again: if anything, suicides have INCREASED during the Covid-19 pandemic

Smug little liar: when Matt Hancock opens his mouth to make a claim, it will probably be wrong.

There was a time when lying to Parliament meant immediate expulsion but don’t expect to see deceitful health secretary Matt Hancock thrown out on his ear.

When the whole government is corrupt, he is merely one liar among many.

His latest attempt to mislead us is in the number of people committing suicide.

He told the Commons that figures for England showed a decrease but this is not true.

Here’s Full Fact:

“Some cautiously positive news announced today ​by the Office for National Statistics shows that the number of suicides during the peak of the pandemic was down from 10.3 per 100,000 to 6.9 per 100,000”. – Matt Hancock MP, 1 September 2020

While the figures quoted by Mr Hancock are the latest reported by the ONS, it has clearly said that this data “cannot be used to show the number of suicides with a date of death in 2020, including those that occurred during the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic”.

The provisional data, released on 1 September, shows the rate and number of suicide deaths registered up to June 2020. This data reported 10.3 suicides per 100,000 people between January and March (equivalent to 1,262 registered deaths), and 6.9 suicide deaths per 100,000 people between April and June, equivalent to 845 registered deaths.

It is important to note that these figures show when these deaths were registered, not when they happened.

The 845 suicides registered in the second quarter of 2020 is the lowest number of any quarter since the figures began in 2001, and the ONS said it is “unlikely that the reduction in registered deaths reflects a genuine reduction in the number of suicides”.

Mr Hancock was wrong to say that suicide deaths fell during the peak of the pandemic, as it is too early for the evidence to show what happened.

Hancock’s lie was all the more blatant when we remember that the ONS – the same organisation whose figures he quoted so wrongly – has reported that suicides in England and Wales last year were at their highest in nearly two decades:

Men accounted for around three-quarters of suicide deaths registered in 2019 – 4,303 compared with 1,388 women.
The male suicide rate of 16.9 deaths per 100,000 people was the highest since 2000, but is in line with 2018’s figures.

For women, the rate was 5.3 deaths per 100,000 – the highest since 2004, but again consistent with the previous year.

Source: There’s no evidence the number of people taking their own life fell during the Covid-19 pandemic – Full Fact

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Covid lockdown and Tory PIP assessment cruelty made woman attempt suicide

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Lockdown cruelty: if you thought this image had been retired for the duration of the Covid crisis, it seems you’re to be disappointed because the Tory government had other plans.

The incompetent – or just plain cruel? – Tory government’s failure to make adequate provision for us all during the Covid-19 lockdown has been worst in the cases of disability benefit claimants, this story shows.

Cambridgeshire Live has published the story of Katy (not her real name), who said the stress caused to her by the Department for Work and Pensions’s assessment for Personal Independence Payment drove her to attempt suicide.

It seems she was put through an assessment interview with an employee of private contractor Capita – and it followed a traumatic pattern that readers of This Site should by now understand well.

Initially offered as a face-to-face interview, the assessment was rescheduled to be on the phone because of the pandemic – and rescheduled three times at the last minute, ensuring that Katy’s mental health support worker could not participate, despite that having been agreed.

The call was pleasant enough but – long-term readers of This Site will know what’s coming – the report that came back was riddled with “gross inaccuracies”.

Denied the benefit, she was forced to file a complaint about the assessor and request a mandatory consideration to receive the funds she deserved.

As a result she was pushed into debt.

In addition – in lockdown and isolated – she had to handle the “incorrect documentation” of a psychiatric assessment.

These symptoms of incompetence by the authorities could not help but exacerbate her condition, which forced her to cope with he side effects of complex post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), including nightmares and flashbacks, and limiting her from carrying out daily tasks like washing or shopping.

It all became too much and she tried to take her own life. Fortunately – and all-too-unusually – the attempt failed.

Now – after Katy’s case was taken up by her MP, Disability Cambridgeshire and Cambridgeshire Live, and may therefore be considered to have become a public relations problem – the government has granted her the highest rate of PIP.

Funny how that happens when there’s a whiff of bad publicity, isn’t it?

Both the DWP and Capita have offered the usual arse-covering soundbites about using all the information available and changing the decision when new facts come forward.

But the fact is that a woman was driven to take her life because of the cruelty of a so-called benefit system that the Tories have perverted into a death-by-deprivation scheme.

This Writer has been campaigning against this deadly policy for years, and the fact that there is now uncontradictable proof that the DWP has been driving people to suicide is welcome.

But I fear I know what will come of it: Absolutely nothing.

Source: PIP payments: ‘The disability benefits assessment made me want to end my life’ – Cambridgeshire Live

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£1 million in bonuses for DWP bosses who cut benefits and ramped up poverty


Tories rely on selfishness for their power – and this story seems to show that they have a point.

Bosses at the Department for Work and Pensions have pocketed £1 million in bonuses for imposing a system that has plunged the most vulnerable people in the UK into poverty, despair and in many cases suicide.

What do they care? They’ve made a pretty penny from it!

The Tory reward for cruelty means the number of people in poverty totals 22 per cent of the population. In 2017 – three years ago – that number was 14 million.

Current figures show four million children to be in poverty now.

Who knows how many are destitute now?

Just don’t expect any sympthy from DWP bosses. They’re laughing all the way to the bank.

Source: Outcry over £1m bonus for DWP bosses who cut benefits causing poverty – Daily Record

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Deaths mount as people buckle under the strain of false accusation

Pauline Hammerton: She was falsely accused of anti-Semitism and expelled from the Labour Party, and it seems the strain led to her untimely death.

The stories that follow are not tragedies. They are the results of small-minded persecution by petty creeps who want a few cheap kicks. Remember that.

As I write this, it is still only a day since This Site published its article on the 25 Labour Party members who were expelled in a single day.

Within hours, I received this, via Twitter:

https://twitter.com/moodynews101/status/1228592972419215361

It’s true.

Pauline Hammerton, a long-term Labour activist from Hulme, in Manchester, had been expelled on February 4 under one of the fast-track processes I described in my article.

It seems she had been unaware that the party had been planning to expel her, and was left distraught by the decision.

It is believed that the shock triggered a haemorrhage that killed her.

Those who knew Ms Hammerton (I did not) have described her in glowing terms.

Here‘s The Critique Archives: “I had met Pauline a few times at demos and other meetings, and so, although I did not know her well, her death has come as a shock, to me personally, and to other activists across the north-west. Her dedication to justice was tremendous, and the callous mistreatment she received from a party that she had given so much to must have been the bitterest blow imaginable.”

And this is from Tony Greenstein’s blog: “A cursory look at Pauline Hammerton’s Facebook page shows that she was anything but a racist.  She was a decent, kind, concerned person who hated all kinds of oppression. Pauline was Chair of Manchester Socialist Health Association… Pauline was the kind of person who should be welcomed and respected.”

Mr Greenstein has also been expelled from the Labour Party on trumped-up charges of anti-Semitism, as has This Writer.

I can’t speak for him, but I have had more than a quarter of a century’s experience as a reporter, and know the kind of backstabbing that can take place.

But not everybody is made of such stern stuff. False allegations alone can cause a huge amount of stress, especially on people whose health is not the best – and tangible harm as a result of such lies, like expulsion from a political party to which one has devoted a large amount of one’s life, can end a life. That is what we have seen.

But we cannot expect the Labour Party to own up and apologise. Nor can we expect any of Ms Hammerton’s false accusers to take anything like the honourable course of action.

They’ll be covering their tracks. If you don’t believe me, consider The Sun and the way that publication rushed to delete a story attacking the late TV presenter Caroline Flack after her apparent suicide (again on February 15).

Ms Flack had been under huge pressure after being removed as the host of a piece of ITV fluff called Love Island amid allegations that she had assaulted her boyfriend.

She had been due to go on trial in March. She had called the period after her arrest and departure from the TV show “the worst time of my life” and had since admitted that she was still having a “really rough time”.

But that didn’t stop content providers like The Sun from hounding her. The headline on the deleted story was “Brutal Caroline Flack Valentine’s Day card mocks troubled star with ‘I’ll f*** lamp you’ message”.

I don’t personally know what happened between Ms Flack and her significant other and I’m not the kind of person to rush to judgement, but I’m sure many people seeing that headline would have believed that it depicted her as a woman of extreme violence and that this was the impression it was seeking to give.

Put yourself in the position of a woman at the sharp end of messages like that – and who had been subjected to a constant stream of them for many months.

It is easy to understand how she could snap.

https://twitter.com/ScouseGirlMedia/status/1228787351452823552

And now at least one candidate to be leader of the Labour Party (remember Labour?) is threatening to open up a new set of floodgates for false accusations, by supporting a call to expel members who express transphobic views.

And just who would decide whether these views were transphobic or not? The same kind of people who decided that simply being accused of anti-Semitism meant members had to be guilty of it?

Labour has a piss-poor record on disciplinary matters and this will make it much, much worse.

Yes, I know that there is a huge argument raging between the so-called TERFs (Trans-Exclusionary Radical Feminists) and people who, as I understand it, are demanding a widening of the definition of transsexual people.

Neither side seems to have much to recommend it. I fell foul of some particularly odious people who claimed to be representative of the trans community on (again) February 15; they seemed to be just as bigoted and intolerant as those they claimed to be defending against.

And Rebecca Long-Bailey is taking their side.

Wouldn’t it be better to tell both gangs to pipe down, and follow a policy that ensures the maximum protection for everyone?

Beastrabban has written an extremely informative piece on this matter, which is not simple and it is vulnerable to takeover by agents of malice and hate.

Coming back to the fact that people are dying over false anti-Semitism allegations, I can say that I wish to raise this when my own case against the Labour Party comes to court on May 26.

It’s a long time to wait, because justice is a slow process, and I’m sure that Labour will try to obstruct my case as much as possible (those who were at the hearing earlier this month will know what I mean).

But it’s the best I can offer. What will you do?

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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Don’t believe DWP pledge to learn from cases linked to suicide – we’ve heard it all before

The Department for Work and Pensions has issued some pretty words in response to a damning report linking it to at least 69 suicides.

The National Audit Office said it could not be sure how many deaths could be linked to poor practice at the government department because the system is so muddled.

So on Monday (February 10), the DWP made a lot of promises.

DWP told the NAO that [it] will look at how its Internal Process Reviews are used to improve processes and prevent harm in future, across three areas –  identification of cases, improving the analysis of recommendations, and better prevention.

It will look at how to improve analysis of the reviews “to ensure that the department is aware of any systemic themes and issues, and is able to act to put in place effective corresponding improvements”.

And it will also look at how staff decide whether to carry out reviews in the first place. It will improve internal guidance and communication “to ensure staff are aware of and understand the processes for reporting a suicide”, the NAO said.

The review will be led by a new unit that has been set up within DWP to “improve the department’s approaches to identifying, investigating and learning lessons from customers’ experiences; and to ensure lessons are fed back into improvement processes”, the NAO report said.

Among other things, the unit will also be tasked with improving the coroner’s focal point – a mechanism put in place in 2016 to improve communication with coroners, including about suicide cases.

It will also be responsible for the serious case panel DWP has established in recent months, which it said would “consider the most serious systemic issues” identified in internal reviews and by the Independent Case Examiner.

We’ve had promises from the DWP before, but the deaths have continued.

And these latest promises? I don’t believe a word of them.

Source: DWP pledges to learn from cases linked to suicide amid call for independent probe | Civil Service World

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Dozens of suicides linked to DWP benefit bungling – with many, many more likely to be hidden

The National Audit Office has linked suicides with the DWP’s poor handling of benefit claims.

But the official auditor cannot say how many deaths were caused by the government department’s deliberate benefit bungling because it has failed to carry out required support work.

Is this incompetence? Or is it a deliberate attempt to hide the facts?

Perhaps that should be the focus of the next investigation.

The NAO launched its investigation last year after then-chair of the Commons Work and Pensions committee, Frank Field, complained that the DWP had blocked his requests for data on suicide-related deaths, saying it would be too expensive to gather the information.

You see how the bureaucrats have been hiding the facts?

The NAO’s report published on Friday reveals that 69 internal process reviews (IPRs) into claimant suicides where “alleged department activity” may have contributed to the claimant’s death have been completed by the DWP since 2014-15.

However, because there was no clear route for such cases to be communicated to the department, and because there was confusion internally as to whether a reported case should be investigated, it is likely incidents that should have been investigated will have slipped under the radar, the NAO says.

The government watchdog warned that although the DWP said it regarded the internal investigations as a way of improving the safety and quality of its services, it had admitted that it has no idea whether lessons from the reviews were ever learned or their recommendations ever implemented.

And it said that until recently the DWP had failed to actively seek information from coroners and families

“It is highly unlikely that the 69 cases the department has investigated represents the number of cases it could have investigated in the past six years,” it concludes.

You may be heartened by the DWP spokesperson’s apparent serious response to the report, which states that the department will “carefully consider the NAO’s findings as part of our ongoing work”.

It is certainly a far cry from the usual response, which is to say that “no causal link” can be made between suicide and the deprivation of benefits.

This Writer’s personal belief is that it is not worth reading too much into this; it is a response to an official government watchdog.

Bear in mind that the DWP has been caught altering benefit applications in order to prevent people with perfectly valid claims from receiving the money they need.

And will any improvements to the recording of benefit-related deaths emerge from this exercise? I should bleedin’ cocoa!

As for change to prevent these suicides?

Forget it.

Source: At least 69 suicides linked to DWP’s handling of benefit claims | Society | The Guardian

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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