With polling day almost upon us, the DWP have been ordered by the Information Commissioner to publish highly controversial claimant death statistics – but not until well after the election is over.
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.
The decision by the Information Commissioner to order publication was made in February of this year. But it was withheld for months , before finally being sent last week to the DWP and to Mike Sivier, the campaigning blogger who has been pursuing the figures for years.
The time limit of 35 days to publish now runs from 30 April, meaning the Coalition will not have to answer to the public for any rise in claimant death numbers until after the election is over.
The unpublished statistics join a long list of suppressed and delayed reports, as well as refusals to hold enquiries, that would have revealed just how painful life for many sick and disabled claimants has become.
For example, the Coalition have refused to hold an inquiry into the reasons for the rise in food bank use, refused to hold an enquiry into the use of sanctions, refused to carry out a cumulative impact assessment examining how the combined effect of all the ‘welfare reforms’ have affected claimants and have refused to publish details of 49 reviews into benefits related deaths.
Along with IDS fleeing from the sister of a dead claimant, the catalogue of refusals suggests some very guilty minds at the heart of the DWP.
You can read more about the ESA death statistics on Mike Sivier’s Vox Political website.