Thursday, March 26, 2015

Massive survey majority believes ‘inhuman’ DWP causes and then covers-up claimant deaths

Please note: there are repeated references to suicide in the final section of this article, headed: “Is there anything else you would like to tell us about issues covered in this survey?

A Benefits and Work survey has revealed an overwhelming distrust of the DWP, with the majority of respondents considering that the department:
  • has negatively affected their own health
  • treats claimants inhumanly
  • causes claimants’ deaths
  • covers up the poverty, suffering and deaths it causes
Benefits and Sanctions deaths survey

In the last Benefits and Work newsletter we published a link to a ‘Benefits sanctions and deaths’ survey.

Two things prompted us to create the survey:
    the preceding week Conservative business minister Nick Boles told charity volunteers that some benefits sanctions were ‘inhuman’ – then changed his mind.
  • Channel 4’s Dispatches revealed that that more than 30 secret reviews carried out following the deaths of benefit claimants called for improvements by the DWP.
We received over 1,000 responses to our survey in just two days, with almost 50% of respondents also leaving detailed comments.  We’ve published around 100 of those comments below – we apologise that we couldn’t publish them all.

The results below have been rounded to one decimal place, so do not always add up to exactly 100%.

Bar chart for first survey question
The results for our first question “Do you think that the benefits system is ‘inhuman’ in the way it treats claimants?” were overwhelmingly critical of the DWP and its partners.

99% of respondents said that, at least sometimes, the benefits system is inhuman.

Yes 88.1%
No 0.6%
Sometimes 11.1%
I don’t know 0.2%

Bar chart for question 2 on health
A very strong majority of respondents, 88.7%, said that their health has suffered because of difficulties with the benefits system, with fewer than 10% saying that it hasn’t.

Yes 88.7%
No 9.6%
I don’t know 3.7%

Bar chart for question 3 on deaths
A massive majority of respondents, 97.3% , consider that DWP sanctions, cuts and unfairness have been responsible for the deaths of claimants.

There is uncertainty about the numbers involved, but 82.5% believe it is in the hundreds or even thousands.

No 0.7%
Yes, a small number 14.8%
Yes, probably hundreds 44.0%
Yes, probably thousands 38.5%
I don’t know 2.2%

Bar chart for question 4 on DWP cover-ups
A huge majority are also sure that the DWP is involved in a cover up about poverty, suffering and benefits-related deaths.

96% believe this to be the case, whilst fewer than 1% think the DWP is being open about these issues.

Yes 96.0%
No 0.9%
I don’t know 3.1%