Saturday, June 13, 2015

60,000 Sign Petition Calling On The Government To Publish Benefit Death Statistics

More than 60,000 people have signed a petition calling on the government to publish statistics into the number of benefit claimants who have died after benefits were removed.

The number of signatories is growing fast and could force the government to come clean about the impact of welfare reforms on vulnerable people.

A number of attempts by journalists and campaigners, using the Freedom of Information Act, to force the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) to publish the statistics have been rebuffed.

The government argues that drawing a direct link between the deaths of seriously ill people and the removal of benefits would be irresponsible.

Welfare Weekly reported last month that the DWP had been ordered by the Information Commissioner to disclose details into deaths related to welfare reforms, following a complaint by political blogger Mike Sivier. It is our understanding that this is currently being appealed by the DWP.

The petition, on the website, claims that this appeal is a direct attempt by the Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith to block publication of benefit-related death statistics.

Maggie Zolobajluk, who started the petition, calls on “the Courts and Tribunal Service to dismiss this appeal and so prevent any further delay by the DWP in publishing these figures”.

It continues: “For years there have been reports of people committing suicide or dying from ill-health soon after their benefits are stopped...