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IDS condemns ‘absurd’, ‘disgraceful’ and ‘unbelievable’ questions about ESA death statistics

As the DWP continues to refuse to publish employment and support allowance (ESA) death statistics, Iain Duncan Smith accused Labour MPs of being ‘absurd’ and ‘disgraceful’ for asking about them. Meanwhile, a petition demanding their publication now has over 225,000 signatures.

ESA ‘death statistics’ cover the number of ESA claimants who have died soon after being found fit for work, as well as those who died after being placed in the work-related activity group.

A previous release of ESA death figures caused such controversy that the DWP have since refused to publish updated statistics, even though they have now been instructed to do so by the Information Commissioner.

MP Marie Rimmer asked IDS this week:

“Following the shameful failure of the Front-Bench team once again to answer a question today, may I ask again why the Government are refusing to publish—even though the Information Commissioner has instructed them to do so—the up-to-date statistics relating to the number of people who have died, having been found fit for work at their face-to-face assessment?”

IDS responded:

“I find it absurd that Opposition Members deliberately try to misrepresent what happens under such schemes. I remind the hon. Lady that it was her Government who introduced the employment support allowance and the work capability assessment, and at no stage did they say that that led to people committing suicide. People in that situation are often in a very delicate and difficult position, and I find it disgraceful that she is going round making such allegations.”

However, another Labour MP, Debbie Abrahams then asked

“Why does he refuse to publish the details of the number of people who have died within six weeks of their claims for incapacity benefit and employment and support allowance, including those who have been found fit for work?”

IDS then replied with what appears to be an outright lie:

“As I said to the hon. Member for St Helens South and Whiston (Marie Rimmer), I find it unbelievable that she, the hon. Lady and others have spent all their time trying to make allegations about people going about their work. She knows very well that the Department does not collate numbers on people in that circumstance. It deals with individual cases where things have gone right or gone wrong and reviews them. It is a crying shame that Labour Members want to go out every day scaring and frightening people. It is no wonder they lost the election.”

However, whilst IDS and the DWP may be able to keep the appeals process against the order to publish the statistics going for many years, they may struggle to withstand the pressure from the public and sections of the media.

A petition on the change.org website calling for the publication of the figures has received over a quarter of a million signatures and the issue has attracted the attention of newspapers including the Mirror, Independent and Guardian.

Eventually the damage caused by speculation about what is being kept hidden may outweigh the damage likely to be caused by publication. Until then, campaigners will keep asking questions and demanding answers.

Comments  

+1 #7 tintack 2015-07-02 14:42
In the light of the story Paul linked to, is it not now time for IDS to prove that he can live on £53 per week, as he once claimed? And surely his failure to show that his spending was valid should result in some kind of penalty which strips him of all income and is imposed immediately. We'd need to come up with a name for such a penalty of course - I'd suggest that "sanction" would fit the bill quite nicely.
#6 Paul Richards 2015-07-01 22:17
Hi tintack,
Yes, thank you for that and yourself and others on here may well take a look at the same link (as before) - it has now been updated this evening and given a new headline - 'IDS In Debt Row With Watchdog'
The 'watchdog' referred to is IPSA - the Commons Watchdog.
This 'pit-bull terrier' of a Minister is fighting his own corner as per usual.
One of the most shameful things to come out of all this is, not only are a lot of other MP's seemingly embroiled in this 'credit-card' behavour but IDS himself really does'nt like the poorest, sickest and the most vulnerable in GB fighting their own corner, when in reality - they have more than every right to do so - because of the abject cruelty of him, his department, his Government and not least, his own dictatorial and most arrogant Prime Minister.
+1 #5 tintack 2015-07-01 19:51
Quoting Paul Richards:
Hi all,
Another article which I have just found!
This is the 'man' who believes hitting the poorest and most sick in our Society the very hardest!

www.talktalk.co.uk/news/uk/article/ids-had-credit-card-suspended/173905


Well now, we're spoilt for choice here, so where do we start? Shall we kick off with "culture of entitlement", "something for nothing" or "feckless scrounger"? Or perhaps "dependency culture" should get the ball rolling.

Roll up and take your pick, ladies and gentlemen!

Quote:
It's interesting to see what F.O.I requests sometimes 'throw-up'!
Indeed, which is no doubt why they're so keen to restrict FoI as much as possible.
#4 Paul Richards 2015-07-01 14:48
Hi all,
Another article which I have just found!
This is the 'man' who believes hitting the poorest and most sick in our Society the very hardest!
It's interesting to see what F.O.I requests sometimes 'throw-up'!

www.talktalk.co.uk/news/uk/article/ids-had-credit-card-suspended/173905
+3 #3 Paul Richards 2015-06-25 21:09
Who on earth does this so called 'Minister for Works & Pensions' actually thinks that he is? He has presided (in a 'legally responsible') position at the head of the Government Department and is seemingly denying his and his Department's responsibility for these poor unfortunate people who have topped themselves - both seemingly through his own Department's forcing them to do things that they are not able to do and also through 'sanctions' imposed upon them.
This is not a man who in any way is going to 'look after' or 'give the utmost protection' to the most disabled in our Society.
He seemingly has, (together with Cameron!) sh*t on the disabled of Britain. In my own personal opinion he should be brought up under the charge of, at least culpable manslaughter - WHY should this bast*rd get away with this.
This is a man who has NO compunctions about anything and therefore he should be treated also (in the full force of the law) as the Head of a Government Department and also as a common criminal.
+3 #2 carruthers 2015-06-24 22:22
Quote:
I hope the petition gets to 250,000 signatures. When you can start talking about "a quarter of a million", that's the sort of phrase that starts to attract attention.
At time of posting the count had reached 227,302.

Perhaps if we all forwarded the address of this petition to someone we think would sign it and made sure that we and our families have signed as well, then that magic 250,000 total might be reached.
+3 #1 tintack 2015-06-24 19:54
Quote:
and the issue has attracted the attention of newspapers including the Mirror, Independent and Guardian.
But not the right wing papers? I'm shocked and stunned.

I hope the petition gets to 250,000 signatures. When you can start talking about "a quarter of a million", that's the sort of phrase that starts to attract attention.

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