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Friday 28th
posted by Morning Star in Britain

Labour MP slams Tories over reassessments

by Felicity Collier

THE government has flagged dozens of deaths of people subjected to welfare reassessment as “possible suicides,” it admitted yesterday under questioning from Labour MP Diana Johnson.

Work and Pensions Minister Damian Hinds confirmed the government has carried out internal reviews relating to 60 deaths over the last five years.

The response came after a written parliamentary question from Ms Johnson, who argued the revelation confirms there is a clear link between suicide and welfare reassessments.

The Hull North MP said she was “appalled” that the figures had been unpublished until now.

“Ministers have repeatedly claimed there to be no link between suicide and welfare reassessment whenever figures have come to light,” she said.

“If there was no link, there wouldn’t have been 60 reviews of suicides in the past five years.

“Families who’ve been left in the dark need to know everything the DWP knows about these cases.”

Rethink Mental Illness charity head Samantha Nicklin said: “People with mental illness consistently find the welfare benefits system — the interview, the sanctions, the number of assessments — stressful and harmful to their health.

“Currently the system is fundamentally unsuited to supporting people living with mental illness.

“We hope that the next government will use this opportunity to conduct an overhaul of the system to ensure that people are not needlessly penalised and everyone can get the support they need.”

Last year the Disability News Service successfully appealed to a tribunal that internal reviews be made public.