Johndeee: Another Inquiry Given the Brush-Off by the DWP over the Deaths of Those Refused Benefit

As I’ve blogged about previously, the DWP has been turning down or giving glib non-answers to requests for information on the number of disabled people, who have committed suicide after having their benefits claims refused by ATOS. My brother, Mike, over at Vox Political and the Sparaszczukster of Granny’s Last Mix are just two, who’ve made such requests only to have them refused as ‘vexatious’. Another is Johndeee, who kindly sent me his correspondence with the DWP on the issue. Here is his request, and their reply.

From: John D. Ingleson
Sent: 20 July 2013 00:46
To: DWP esa analysis
Subject: Incapacity Benefits: Deaths of recipients

Dear Mr David Green

Please can you explain why no more recent publication concerning “Incapacity Benefits: Deaths of recipients” has been published?

This information is vitally important at a time of such radical changes to the to benefit system.

The effects of such changes to a most vulnerable group must surely warrant a vigilant investigation of the data if contravention of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons of Disabilities (which the UK ratified in 2009) is to be avoided.

Please advise at your soonest convenience.

Yours faithfully

John Ingleson
Tue, 23 Jul 2013 at 15:04

FW: Incapacity Benefits: Deaths of recipients
CC: DWP IGS FOI, DWP esa analysis

Dear John Ingleson,

The report you refer to was a piece of original analysis produced on a one-off basis and released as an ad hoc statistical note. The statistics it contained are not routinely compiled and the analysis has not been repeated. Although we currently have no plans to directly update the ad hoc report, statisticians and other analysts do monitor requests the department receives for new statistics and consider whether we can produce and release analysis that will helpfully inform public debate. The Secretary of State has agreed that officials should look at this issue with a view to seeing what statistics could be produced on a regular basis.

We can also assure you that Ministers will look for ways to ensure that we have a welfare system that is fair to everyone. This includes benefit and pension recipients, but also taxpayers. Ministers and officials have, therefore, been evaluating a wide variety of propositions, and they will continue to do so. Many factors need to be taken into account and carefully considered before any single measure is implemented. Ministers are looking at a wide variety of issues because they believe that reform is needed in a number of areas.

The reforms that are being implemented are wide-ranging, and involve the work of a number of Government Departments.

As Secretary of State in this Department, Iain Duncan Smith is focusing on how the benefits system can best be reformed, including the introduction of the Universal Credit for people of working age and how that will interact with the work of other Departments. Plans for the reform of State Pensions have also now been published.

Ministers do welcome all views on Government policies, and I thank you for your comments. Should you wish to find out more about the reforms, or about Government services, information can be found through the GOV.UK website. This will now be the best source of information about Government services.

Thank you.

IGS Freedom of Information Team

Johndeee’s comment on this bland, completely uninformative reply is the same Private Eye prints whenever they get a similar glib excuse from authority for a piece of blatant corruption or injustice: So that’s all right then.

The take-home message from this is that, despite their bland assurances that the government welcomes all points of view in this matter, they are not collecting information on this matter and have no intention to do so. This is probably because it would conflict with Ian Duncan Smith’s vaunted reforms of the system. The authorities’ lack of transparency on this matter is now a national scandal. With many hundreds of our society’s most desperate and vulnerable people committing suicide over the termination of their only means of support, the government’s attitude is deeply disgusting. This issue will not, and should not, go away.

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