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UK government asked to publish review into case of Tim Salter, one of 60 investigations into suicides linked to benefit changes

The sister of a partially sighted man who killed himself after his benefits were cut is calling on the UK government to publish details of its review into his case, one of 60 internal investigations of suicides linked to benefit changes it has carried out since 2012.

Linda Cooksey, 60, found the body of her brother, Tim Salter, 53, who was agoraphobic and suffered mental health problems, in his home in Stourbridge in September 2013. There was no food in his house, no money in his bank account, and in the dustbin she found a letter from a housing association threatening him with eviction.

A few months after his suicide, Staffordshire coroner Andrew Haigh ruled that a major factor in Salter’s death was that his state benefits had been “greatly reduced, leaving him almost destitute”.

Cooksey and her family are devastated by his death. He lived just 50 yards from her home, and she passes his house every day.

Read the full story in the Guardian


#4 tintack 2015-01-19 11:09
Sadly, it probably is the case that the review is only concerned with whether or not procedures were followed. I suppose it's theoretically possible that if the review finds that procedures were not followed then someone might be brought to account, but I doubt it very much. It doesn't matter if you die: as long as your death occurs in accordance with procedure, the DWP can reassure itself that nothing went wrong.

The lack of accountability in the WCA regime is well known: when something goes wrong, even when it's as serious and tragic as this, the DWP blames Atos and Atos blames the DWP. It's almost as if the system were deliberately designed to ensure that no-one is ever brought to account, but of course that couldn't possibly be true.
#3 naheegan 2015-01-18 15:30
From what I understand, the review is whether or not 'procedures have been followed', rather than apportioning accountability to either DWP, their policies, or any government department or civil servant.
I'd welcome correction if I am wrong about this.

If it is the case that the review concerns whether proper procedures were followed, then this will be just another damp squid offered to placate public (what I consider to be) justifiable outrage at the loss of many innocent lives from deliberately cruel and unnecessary welfare reforms.

I really have no faith that any policy shift, revision or accountability will come from this box-ticking exercise. The loss of life and the grief of friends, family members, community members is incalculable.
+7 #2 tintack 2015-01-12 18:41
I'll be amazed if they publish the review. If they do so in this case they'll have to do so in others - the precedent will be set. And because of the steady stream of deaths due to welfare "reform", that will get very embarrassing very quickly. Much better from the DWP's point of view to keep the public in the dark. We wouldn't want people to know what's happening - they might start to demand changes. And we can't have that.
+8 #1 buster 2015-01-12 12:01
This is a tragic and avoidable situation. Firstly, I would like to offer my condolences to the families who have lost loved ones as a result of DWP policy. I fear this is only the tip of the iceberg; of course the review in question should be published - if the political will is there - by whoever - then pressure can be applied to make this happen. Unfortunately, I'm not holding my breath!

Finally, something needs to be done NOW to put a stop to any more unnecessary deaths; we don't want any more families having to experience similar avoidable tragedies. I say to those who have power and authority to influence the mass media - please do something NOW; the media should and must report the tragic causal effects of DWP policy - caused by so called Welfare Reform.

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