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ESA death statistics to be cynically released over August bank holiday

The DWP have cynically arranged for the long-awaited employment and support allowance (ESA) death statistics to be released immediately before a bank holiday in the middle of the parliamentary summer recess, Benefits and Work can reveal. This is a traditional method of burying bad news in the hope it gets the minimum possible publicity.

The ESA death statistics will be released on Thursday 27 August, immediately before the bank holiday in England and Wales on Monday 31 August.

So, not only will the news receive much less attention because it is in the immediate run up to the holiday, but parliament is in recess, so ministers cannot be challenged on the statistics.

Given the enormous delay in publishing these figures, it is very clear that the timing was absolutely designed to ensure the figures receive a s little attention as possible.

It is also still not clear whether the statistics will be in the same format as a previous release, allowing a direct comparison. All that the DWP ae saying at this stage is that:

“This publication will provide information on those who have died after claiming Employment and Support Allowance, Incapacity Benefit or Severe Disablement Allowance in Great Britain in response to a number of Freedom of Information requests.”

On the same day, the DWP are publishing a more comprehensive – and probably deliberately opaque – set of statistics entitled ‘Mortality statistics: out-of-work benefit claimants Mar 2003 to Feb 2014’.

According to the DWP:

“This publication will provide mortality statistics for people on out-of-work benefits in Great Britain by age group and sex, from March 2003 to February 2014. Out of work benefits are Jobseeker’s Allowance, Incapacity Benefit /Severe Disablement Allowance, Employment and Support Allowance and Income Support.”

Benefits and Work will alert readers as soon as the statistics are available.

Comments  

#10 tintack 2015-08-27 22:28
Just found this from Ben Goldacre:

https://storify.com/bengoldacre/how-dwp-has-confused-everyone-by-releasing-the-rig

I understand the point about releasing figures with no denominator, though I believe the ASMRs that he calls for have in fact been released along with the real stats. What doesn't make sense to me is where Goldacre says that the DWP have released the rates "for the category we're not interested in (fit for work)".

Can anyone read that link and make sense of that comment? Surely fit for work is the very category we ARE interested in?
#9 tintack 2015-08-27 19:59
No mention of this on the BBC's evening news. Apparently Usain Bolt winning a race was a bigger story. I don't think it's been mentioned on ITV news either, or even Channel 4 news, which has previously had a somewhat better record on this. Isn't our media marvellous?

The DWP's attitude seems to be, "well, you can't prove that wrong fit for work decisions caused these deaths". You might have thought that the mere possibility that the DWP's actions might be driving people into early graves would have horrified them, so they'd be promising to investigate as a matter of urgency. Not a bit of it.

In fact, as we know, there have been dozens of cases in which coroners' inquests have cited the WCA as a contributory factor in claimant deaths. But even leaving that aside, even if no deaths were actually caused by wrong fit for work decisions, that would still leave the question that the DWP can't answer: why are so many people in the last few weeks of their lives being declared fit for work? That should not be happening, regardless of the cause of death.

And despite these appalling figures, and despite the DWP being caught making up stories from fake claimants, IDS wants to make the WCA even worse, and Cameron seems to be only too happy to keep him in post.
#8 tintack 2015-08-27 17:59
There's a Guardian article about the figures:

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/aug/27/death-britains-benefits-system-fit-for-work-safety-net

This article says the figures show that more than 80 people a month are dying shortly after being found fit for work. If so, that's truly shocking.
+1 #7 Bill24chev 2015-08-27 14:23
Just had a quick look at the stats.

They do not seem to mention anything about Deaths following Sanctions only Death while in receipt of Benefit or Death following Failed WCA
+2 #6 Paul Richards 2015-08-23 15:17
And another! The calling for the resignation if IDS is gaining in intensity.

https://intensiveactivity.wordpress.com/2015/08/22/iain-duncan-smith-should-resign-as-work-and-pensions-secretary/
+2 #5 Paul Richards 2015-08-23 15:05
And another - also from someone on the johnnyvoid website.
(This is from a Scottish newspaper published today)

www.eveningtimes.co.uk/news/13620791.The_Tories_know_austerity_cuts_are_killing_people/
+2 #4 Paul Richards 2015-08-23 12:25
Hi all,
Slightly off topic, but I found this and felt that I had to put it on!
This is an awfully unfair& cruel story that has occurred because of IDS and his & Cameron's Tory Government's shameful bedroom tax.
(I found it courtesy of someone on the johnnyvoid website)

www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/brutality-bedroom-tax-exposed-disgraceful-6302099
+3 #3 stevie mac 2015-08-20 13:58
i have been getting high rate care since 2012 just been awarded care allowance ask the dwp if it will be backdated they said they didnt know they will look into it does any members know if it can get backdated
+2 #2 Matata2011 2015-08-19 14:15
Spill asap at last
+5 #1 papasmurf 2015-08-19 11:52
If the data is not in the format X/1000/annum it will have been doctored.

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