Ipswich Unemployed Action.

Campaigning for Unemployed Rights.

DWP Bloc Release of Figures on People Dying After Benefits Stopped.

with 31 comments

Flowers left by well wishers after the death of a man in the St Stephen's underpass.<br /><br /><br />
Picture by SIMON FINLAY.

Flowers left by well wishers after the death of a man in the St Stephen’s underpass Norwich.

Just 24 hours on from Wednesday’s discovery of the body of a homeless man life had pretty much returned to normal in and around the St Stephen’s Street underpass.

Shoppers passed through carrying bags full of their latest purchases and commuters rush by on their way to or from work.

The only sign of the tragedy to unfold, a small pile of flowers where the man died and the message ‘murdered by austerity’ scrawled on the walls above.

Norwich Evening News. June the 13th.

Embedded image permalink

From I’m a JSA Claimant@imajsaclaimant  (Twitter)

The Huffington Post reports.

A petition has been launched after the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) blocked the publication of statistics showing how many people have died within six weeks of having their benefits stopped.

More than 18,000 people have signed the Change.org petition in under a week after the DWP appealed a decision to release the sensitive figures.

After a freedom of information request, the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), an independent authority set up to uphold public information rights, agreed that there was no reason not to publish the figures.

“Given the passage of time and level of interest in the information it is difficult to understand how the DWP could reasonably withhold the requested information,” The ICO said.

Welfare Weekly says,

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 change.org 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.

“As a partner of someone with a disability I have been through two benefit appeals and have also been a benefit tribunal representation – so I know from personal experience how stressful the system can be and the impact they have on families.

“I believe the public needs to know the full impact of benefit changes.

“In 2012 the Department of Work and Pensions published statistics which showed 10,600 people who had been receiving benefits died between January and November 2011. These figures caused an outcry, although many disabled campaigners disagreed over what the figures actually showed. Ministers then blocked publication of any updated figures.

“Now, thanks to freelance journalist and carer, Mike Sivier, the Information Commissioner’s Office has admitted there is no reason not to publish them. This appeal is the last hurdle to overcome to get these figures out in the public.”

 

You can add your name to the petition here.

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Written by Andrew Coates

June 13, 2015 at 9:16 am

31 Responses

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  1. So much for the saying,” have I got to die around here before someone does something” .

    If I was these people looking to find out I would make up a figure and present it to the press. Naturally DWP will chat at the teeth and issue a rebuttle which is the exact opportunity to pose the question, “then why not release the data as what makes what they say any less an assumption than the other”. The press could even drop the you did promise to be a more transparent or was that a lie to secure votes.

    Governments are no different to humans, you only have to put them on the spot and there come out slugging, the game is to get the sucker punch in first if you know what I mean.

    gaia

    June 13, 2015 at 10:50 am

  2. NEW TARGETS

    Benefit sanctions targets are bad enough. “Customer Compliance Interviews” are bad enough. But now there is a new target connected to theses compliance interviews.

    I wonder if the DWP will now block figures for their new “Compliance Interview” targets:

    http://voxpoliticalonline.com/2015/06/12/new-targets-for-dwp-compliance-interviews-the-poor-side-of-life/

    Tobanem

    June 13, 2015 at 11:50 am

    • This another scheme taken from business and yes you guessed, born in the USA.

      http://www.corporatecomplianceinsights.com/the-compliance-interview-6-helpful-questions/

      Its time the public faced the fact the Tories don’t have any plans that are actually there’s, nearly all tory plans to date have come from the states.

      Still feel the tories don’t want to privatise the NHS ?

      gaia

      June 13, 2015 at 1:00 pm

      • My long-standing theory is that there is a model free-market place in Texas, Houndstown, where these plans are manufactured.

        It’s run by Deputy Dawg.

        All the unemployed are forced to labour in chain gangs.

        Health care is only available to those who are privately insured or who can pay.

        Water and clean air are supplied by Dawg corporation – tariffed per litre and a cubic metre.

        Deputy Dawg goes out a-huntin’ lawbreakers who have to toil in his fast-food supply factories for up to twenty years.

        There is a vast shanty-town where migrants sleep: during the day the work up to 14 hours (but still on zero hour contracts) on Dawg farms picking cotton and maize.

        Trade Unionists are lynched in the public square.

        Andrew Coates

        June 13, 2015 at 2:51 pm

    • These compliance interviews are common after the work programme finishes,they are intimidatory through the way they are conducted also worded they are both intrusive and humiliating the claimant is then reminded of their responsibilities.All benefits can be stopped jsa or not if not attended.

      They are both totally pointless and politically motivated ,efforts would be better directed elsewhere at the tax avoiding rich.The Tories still think there’s plenty of milk left in the benefits headline by pursuing those in poverty.

      ken

      June 14, 2015 at 6:39 am

      • I have the feeling that the humiliation people have undergone during and after these ‘schemes’ and workfare will come to haunt the government and the DWP for years to come.

        Andrew Coates

        June 14, 2015 at 2:31 pm

      • One of these days people, millions of will not take any more of it.

        enigma

        June 14, 2015 at 3:16 pm

      • Like not paying there taxes might be one approach as PAYE is dying I think these days with the growth of temporary and ZH employment.

        You see if your life is liable to be one of in out, in out then it makes perfect sense to declare yourself as a service and go self employed then solicit the companies always looking for temp workers. With you getting the money that means you have the HMRC by the bollocks as what are they going to do, oh that’s right, spend more of other peoples tax money in a veil attempt to threaten and convert you.

        A government without taxes, is a government without influence.

        gaia

        June 15, 2015 at 10:26 am

      • For many, their existence and possible growth, at a time when job opportunities are scarce, and penalties for not taking up work are more severe, exemplifies a general trend towards more precarious and exploitative forms of employment.

        http://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/research/key-issues-parliament-2015/work/zero-hours-contracts/

        enigma

        June 15, 2015 at 10:42 am

      • If everyone treated ZHCs like summer jobs, employers wouldn’t get away with half of what they do. So people need to line up loads of them or add registering with agencies as an alternative to offset it so as to prevent anyone employer having power.

        Adding employee rights would again dampen any employers aims to manipulate an individuals life.

        gaia

        June 15, 2015 at 2:26 pm

  3. OT: The Automation of Driving Jobs has started

    http://nextbigfuture.com/2015/06/beginning-of-thousands-of-jobs-losses.html

    I am a scifi buff and a watcher of technology – but one thing I always ask myself is “Is this a good thing, long term for people/humans?”

    The results of Automation is going to bring more intractable problems than it solves – especially with the pool of available jobs drying up with no foreseeable replacements.

    Pity we cannot automate the politicians and bend them to the will of the people….

    Gazza

    June 13, 2015 at 12:14 pm

    • I knew people who worked at Fort McMurray in Canada when there a few years ago, they obviously won’t be happy so not so good for humans, I seen the same thing happening in US and no doubt many other countries.

      enigma

      June 13, 2015 at 4:05 pm

    • The days of mass employment are over. We already have too many people “working”, mostly in pointless non-jobs. Wealth distribution is the problem.

      Another Fine Mess

      June 13, 2015 at 11:01 pm

      • As they say “change cannot come without sacrifice” so unless the public man up, it will be lord of the manor all over again.

        gaia

        June 15, 2015 at 10:28 am

  4. When we say “The government argues that drawing a direct link between the deaths of seriously ill people and the removal of benefits would be irresponsible”

    Who exactly is “The government” ?

    It’s about time we started naming people so that we don’t forget what they did! Why do we always anoymise these criminal individuals and hide them away in some vast machine that can’t be prosecuted. It’s high time we made everything personal, until we do there will be little or no accountability.

    ‘A DWP Spokesman’
    ‘A government spokesman’
    ‘The Secretary of State’
    ‘The policies of this government’

    It’s all bullshit!

    For every decision there is a name for the person who first made it, there are then names for those who support it.

    Welfare Central

    June 13, 2015 at 3:03 pm

    • Its called safety in numbers welfare central.

      I say that with glee as well, it didn’t help the Jewish community much during world war 2 did it?

      gaia

      June 15, 2015 at 10:30 am

  5. OT: Yearly Declaration Bull from DWP or lose Benifits!

    GEOFF REYNOLDS | June 13, 2015 at 3:33 pm | Reply

    “more shit from the DWP”

    From: Karyn Adams

    12 June 2015

    Dear Department for Work and Pensions,

    As of 27 April 2015, claimants who have been in receipt of
    income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA (IB)) for 12 months or more
    will receive an Annual Verification (AV) letter on the anniversary
    of their claim. The letter will require them to verify or update
    their circumstances, sign a strengthened declaration and return it
    to the Benefit Centre.

    Apparently – and i quote – ”The claimant will have 28 days to
    complete their response, sign the declaration and return the letter
    to the Benefit Centre.

    If the AV letter has not been returned after 28 days, a reminder
    letter will be issued, allowing a further 14 days for a response.
    If no reply is received within 14 days of the reminder being
    issued the case will be considered for suspension.
    If no reply is received within one month of the date the
    suspension was notified the claim may be terminated for
    non-compliance with the AV process.”.

    Can you tell me what information you hold regarding the legality of
    possibly terminating either a JSA or IB claim if the claimant
    declines to fill in, sign and return this Verification letter?.

    Also, can a claimant merely fill in the verification form and
    decline to sign it?. If not, can a claimant be mandated to sign the
    form? What would the legal basis be of forcing someone to sign this
    verification form against their will?.

    As far as i am aware, a JSA claimant is under no obligation to sign
    anything, apart from their fortnightly declaration, and their
    Jobseeker’s Agreement. Can you please provide me with the
    legislation that states that completing AND SIGNING the Annual
    Verification form is mandatory, and a condition of claiming JSA.

    Why has this form been created when JSA claimants are already asked
    at every signing on appointment if there has been any change to
    their circumstances before they are allowed to sign their
    declaration?

    Yours faithfully,

    Karyn Adams

    Link to this
    https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/annual_verification_of_your_clai#incoming-664291

    My Thoughts:
    Is this legal? Suspect not
    Why? Changing of contract without prior notice or negotiation & imposing by dik tat

    Gazza

    June 13, 2015 at 4:13 pm

  6. The chancellor’s plans, announced in his Mansion House speech, for “permanent budget surpluses” are nothing more than an attempt to outmanoeuvre his opponents (Report, 10 June). They have no basis in economics. Osborne’s proposals are not fit for the complexity of a modern 21st-century economy and, as such, they risk a liquidity crisis that could also trigger banking problems, a fall in GDP, a crash, or all three.

    http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2015/jun/12/osborne-plan-has-no-basis-in-economics

    enigma

    June 13, 2015 at 6:19 pm

    • Maybe so, but Osborne’s plans do have a basis… in the economics of the workhouse!

      Fagin

      June 14, 2015 at 6:21 am

    • Although tories will yet again declare, only they know about everything, the article or should I say the economists are very much correct.

      Don’t get me wrong, its always handy to have a surplus but one should never bank on it.

      gaia

      June 15, 2015 at 10:37 am

  7. Something dark is unfolding in this country. This government, as we expected, are pure evil. BUt it’s the casual callousness behind things like refusing to acknowledge deaths caused, that speaks to the heart of their malevolence. It’s that everyday officious bureaucratic indifference that masks the class hatred of filth like Duncan Smith.

    I can only hope that, with the People’s Assembly march next week, something changes. It cannot go on like this – certainly not for another five years! But i fear that another exercise in walking around Oxford circus and listening to the usual suspects isn’t going to be enough, and people will be led, once again, with false hope and no real change.

    ghost whistler

    June 13, 2015 at 7:52 pm

    • Its called the coming wind and its not indigenous to the UK either.

      gaia

      June 15, 2015 at 10:35 am

  8. OT. More monitoring.

    The innovators: the app that allows patients to track their illnesses

    uMotif can send clinical information in advance to doctors, remind people when to take their medication and even monitor their mood & activity.

    The uMotif app now being used by around 1,000 patients with 10 different conditions in the UK, the United States and Australia to keep a log of their welfare.

    http://www.theguardian.com/business/2015/jun/14/the-innovators-umotif-the-app-that-allows-patients-to-track-their-illnesses

    enigma

    June 14, 2015 at 4:15 pm

  9. Resolution Foundation puts a question mark over political feasibility of £12bn welfare cuts, including possible £5bn reduction in child tax credit.

    The child tax credit is paid to a total of 4 million families (with 5 million children). More than two-thirds of these families (2.7 million) are in work.

    http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2015/jun/14/tory-welfare-cuts-would-hit-poorest-third-of-uk-families-research-shows

    enigma

    June 15, 2015 at 9:59 am

  10. Barriers to employment.

    Elite firms are sidelining the UK’s bright working-class applicants in favour of privileged, “polished” candidates, a report says.

    The Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission says these firms draw from a small pool of graduates, who probably went to private or selective schools.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-33109052

    enigma

    June 15, 2015 at 11:29 am

  11. Mum ordered to pay back dead son’s benefits

    http://www.morningstaronline.co.uk/a-0b49-Mum-ordered-to-pay-back-dead-sons-benefits#.VX7tMNLbJhE

    Incase you don’t read the link, this son committed suicide.

    What a cheek, the boy was already 21 yet somehow his mother is responsible for his debts. So what are DWP saying, she co-signed his benefits in a default clause ?

    gaia

    June 15, 2015 at 3:25 pm

  12. Reblogged this on Britain Isn't Eating.

    A6er

    June 17, 2015 at 9:48 am


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