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Desperate DWP’s last minute appeal against revealing benefit-related deaths

(43 Posts)
blacksunday Fri 29-May-15 08:28:33

The Department for Work and Pensions has appealed against the ruling compelling it to disclose the number of Incapacity Benefit and ESA claimants who have died between November 2011 and May 2014.

The ruling came from the Information Commissioner on April 30 after an appeal by Vox Political‘s Mike Sivier. The DWP had 28 calendar days in which to submit an appeal – and it arrived via email at 3.25pm today – just one hour and 35 minutes before the close of business for the day.

Clearly the cowards of Caxton House are terrified of revealing the true numbers of those who have died as a result of Conservative policies towards the sick and disabled, and have delayed their appeal until almost the last minute in order to delay, for as long as possible, the moment when they have to provide the facts.

The appeal itself appears to be nothing more than a rehash of the DWP’s original reasons for refusing This Writer’s request – reasons that were dismissed by the Information Commissioner after Vox Political pointed out that they were not valid.

Therefore the DWP is simply wasting time.

Desperation radiates from the DWP’s appeal. Here’s just one example: “Taken in isolation, the statistics requested by Mr Sivier were likely to be misinterpreted. Specifically, incorrect conclusions were likely to be drawn as to causal links between assessment outcomes and mortality. Such misinterpretations would be contrary to the public interest, particularly given the emotive and sensitive context of mortality statistics.”

The Freedom of Information Act 2000 does not allow any public authority discretion to refuse a request because it fears what a person may or may not do with the information.

If it holds the information, it must communicate it to the person making the request.

It seems reasonable to conclude that the number of deaths – when it is finally revealed – will be devastatingly large.

The behaviour of this government department would be laughable if the subject matter was not so serious – the deaths of many thousands of sick and disabled people, due to the way this department treated them.

But it was only to be expected. This process has taken an extremely long time – nearly two years – because of the DWP’s constant evasions. A little longer won’t make much of a difference, especially as the Tories have managed to con the electorate into letting them play at being the government for another five years.

And the game of cat-and-mouse has nearly run its course. Very soon now, the DWP will have nowhere to hide.

Tick tock, Tory boys.

voxpoliticalonline.com/2015/05/28/desperate-dwps-last-minute-appeal-against-revealing-benefit-related-deaths/

Isitmebut Fri 29-May-15 10:30:33

”Tick tock, Tory boys” ….. P-lease.

How can any government precisely know the directly attributed deaths to their policies, or those due to of incompetence of different party run local authorities management in handling individual cases, or even possible mistakes made by those claiming – whether that government inherited an unreformed, financially unsustainable, welfare/benefits department within the worse recession in 80-years, or not?

How can we know how worse it would have been under Labour, who has kept saying for over 5-years that they would cut welfare/benefits deeper than the Conservative coalition?

Moreover, within the ‘socialist boys’ movement, even those having run a department responsible for life and death and looked to suppress death rates on Labour’s watch, a certain Mr Andy Burnham, is not only non accountable, but worthy of their voting support to become a future Labour Prime Minister of the UK.

”Mid Staffs: Labour Government ignored MP requests for public inquiry into deaths”

”Former Health Secretaries Andy Burnham and Alan Johnson ignored 81 requests for a public inquiry into Mid Staffordshire NHS Trust in the two years after it was first warned of poor NHS care, it has emerged.”
www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/9875660/Mid-Staffs-Labour-Government-ignored-MP-requests-for-public-inquiry-into-deaths.html

”Andy Burnham and Alan Johnson, two former Health Secretaries, turned down dozens of requests for public inquiries into the Mid-Staffordshire scandal, including 20 from fellow MPs.”

”Figures from the Conservatives also show 14 NHS trusts with unusually high mortality rates saw around 7000 more deaths than expected in the four years before Labour left power."

"Up to 2,800 of these deaths came after alarms were sounded about the Mid Staffordshire hospital scandal and three independent reports warned that not enough attention was paid to quality of care.”

”Charlotte Leslie, a Tory MP for Bristol North West, who was handed the mortality rate figures, accused Labour of trying to "bury the truth" about poor standards.”

"The diabolical facts are that if Labour Ministers had not suppressed alarm-bell warning reports in 2008, up to 2800 lives could possibly have been saved under their watch," she said.”

”The Department of Health was handed three reports raising concerns about the quality of care in some parts of the NHS in 2008. The reports for Lord Darzi, a former health minister, found targets were being met at the expense of patient treatment and identified a culture of fear among staff afraid to raise concerns.”

”These documents were only made public in 2010 as a result of a freedom of information request by Policy Exchange, a think-tank.”

”In January 2008, the Healthcare Commission also identified seven different warning signs about the Mid Staffordshire NHS Trust, which led to the first investigation. It later emerged patients up to 1,200 patients had died unnecessarily, with some left hungry, unwashed and in soiled sheets.”

Yet we kept hearing from Andy Burnham that the NHS will only be safe in Labour’s arms, which is clearly a lie to gain electoral advantage, verily a hanging offence in some Scottish circles.

Tick tock, socialist boys, only another 5-years to go before having the chance to screw up the country, again.

prh47bridge Fri 29-May-15 10:46:58

managed to con the electorate

Calling the electorate stupid is not the way to win the next election.

These statistics will tell us precisely nothing of any use whatsoever. I'm sure some people will say that all these deaths are attributable to government policies but that is clearly ridiculous. There is no way of knowing how many people would have died if policies had been different. Even if there is an increase over the previous 2.5 years it is not necessarily due to government policies.

Coffeethrowtrampbitch Fri 29-May-15 10:52:15

What worries me is that when the sheer number of dead disabled people have been revealed, it will be a headline, people will say how awful, and then austerity will continue.

It needs to stop before anyone else dies.

Owllady Fri 29-May-15 10:54:46

This is not about the MGS, this is about benefit sanctions and making the process too difficult for people with other issues (special needs, mental illness etc) to navigate. We have had two local cases of deaths due to benefit removal, both of whom had serious mental health issues and it wasn't covered in the national press at all.

I don't care who is in power, I care about those vulnerable in society being protected and supported not to die of starvation because they don't know how to navigate the new benefits/back to work schemes or are too ill to do so.

Owllady Fri 29-May-15 10:57:38

MGS should read NHS
It's ideological pretending the cuts haven't affected those most vulnerable. As a carer to someone severely disabled I can tell you they have. At a central government and local government level. The services these people received previously have been cut or gone. The support structures in place have been cut.

silveroldie2 Fri 29-May-15 11:08:08

Owllady
"We have had two local cases of deaths due to benefit removal, both of whom had serious mental health issues and it wasn't covered in the national press at all"

If they had serious mental health issues, don't you think their deaths are just as likely to have resulted from that? Why assume it was as a result of action by the Government. Let's face it, no-one knows.

Isitmebut Fri 29-May-15 11:09:07

So are we saying, that under Labour, when money was no object (until it ran out), no one died under their watch?

Are we saying that local councils with benefit/welfare reform Contingency Funds and half a brain between them, let these people die?

AnyoneForTennis Fri 29-May-15 11:15:17

So what does everyone think should happen? Stop assessing people? If someone claims illness/disability then what? We take their word for it?

And in monetary terms.... How much money should the DWP give? And if the DWP provide them with more cash, for someone it won't ever be enough.

Disabled and sick people will still die

Isitmebut Fri 29-May-15 11:16:26

What confuses me, is that before the recent General Election, when Labour were asked for their spending cuts they included money that they saw at the local government level.

So 4-years after the threats and closures of local libraries and other services, they were identifying 'fat' left over from their Council Tax rises of 105% on average, a high of 125% in the South.

If there is money around, why are people dying?

Owllady Fri 29-May-15 11:17:10

They both starved to death because their benefits were taken away. We can pretend it hasn't happened but it has. There was a high profile case of a man in Oxford too
www.independent.co.uk/voices/comment/government-benefit-cuts-are-already-being--blamed-for-the-deaths-of-three-vulnerable-people-and-there-may-be-60-more-9942735.html
I'm not prepared to ignore that or this has happened. It's appalling. We are not a developing country

PattiODoors Fri 29-May-15 11:22:45

I don't think the language you are using helps tbh blacksunday, all that tick tock nonsense is quite off putting and even maybe counterproductive. Anyway.

Certainly I have been following this over the past few months and the apparent delays and obfuscation by the Dept have been remarkable.

Owllady Fri 29-May-15 11:25:29

I think it would be more helpful if there wasn't such an US and them mentality. It doesn't matter who is power, it's the mark of a civilised society to look after the vulnerable people within it. I don't want to live in a country where life is cheap, I don't think any of us do!

PattiODoors Fri 29-May-15 11:26:41

Aye agree.

cosytoaster Fri 29-May-15 11:31:17

So what does everyone think should happen? Stop assessing people? If someone claims illness/disability then what? We take their word for it?

How about having a system in place that can work quickly enough to assess people (maybe trusting the medical professionals dealing with that person) and pay the money they are entitled to before they die?

I know a lot of people who work in the benefits system and they confirm that the waiting time for disability related benefits is indeed absurdly long and that people who are clearly very ill and not capable of work do die whilst waiting. Let's hope all of you on here never find yourselves in that position.

Isitmebut Fri 29-May-15 12:15:53

Owllady .... "I don't want to live in a country where life is cheap, I don't think any of us do!"

No one does, but it suits some politicians and their minions to suggest that some politicians come to parliament to attack the poor and infirm - and that propaganda to some extent stuck, so comparisons are clearly necessary.

DogStrummer Sat 30-May-15 07:27:17

Tick tock, socialist boys, only another 5-years to go before having the chance to screw up the country, again.

They'll be up against Boris in 2020, and will lose ~28 of their "free" seats after the boundary changes. We're safe for another 10 years at least.

blacksunday Sat 30-May-15 08:18:03

prh47bridge

These statistics will tell us precisely nothing of any use whatsoever. I'm sure some people will say that all these deaths are attributable to government policies but that is clearly ridiculous. There is no way of knowing how many people would have died if policies had been different. Even if there is an increase over the previous 2.5 years it is not necessarily due to government policies.

Actually, we know that government cuts to social security are having a devastating effect on people's lives.

The DWP used to collect statistics on referrals to foodbanks due to sanctions. Since people (rightly) used them to point out the immorality of making people starve for being 3 minutes late to a DWP appointment, the DWP stopped collecting statistics.

Foodbanks now have started collecting these statistics themselves, as they record why people come to use food banks to collect food. The majority of the cases were due to delays or sanctions on social security payments.

Numerous charities and organisations, including disability groups, have come out and spoken publicly that the dismantling on welfare is having a devastation effect on the poor, ill, disabled, and vulnerable.

You can Google all of these things if you don't believe me. If I have time, I could provide you a range of links, if you'd like.

Here is 'Callums List', which is a list of a fraction of the people who have died at the hands of the DWP for incredibly stupid reasons:

calumslist.org/calums-list/

We'll soon find out how many the DWP has really killed in recent years.

sanfairyanne Sat 30-May-15 08:27:48

sadly most people will not and would not care. it would be 'their own fault'

sad sad sad sad sad sad sad sad

our 'society' is completely fucked

Icimoi Sat 30-May-15 12:44:46

So what does everyone think should happen? Stop assessing people? If someone claims illness/disability then what? We take their word for it?

Surely the answer to that is mindbendingly obvious? What should happen is that there should be proper assessments, taking fully into account the medical notes and the views of GPs and other doctors treating the person in question - not assessments by nurses with little or no experience of the condition in question who are on incentives for the number of claims that get refused.

Someone I know who sits on appeal panels is absolutely sick of ludicrous cases when some nurse overrules the opinions of leading experts in the field as to whether the person in question is fit to work, because s/he doesn't get access to the patient's notes and is required to ignore detailed medical reports.

prh47bridge Sat 30-May-15 16:53:21

The DWP used to collect statistics on referrals to foodbanks due to sanctions

At least job centres can now refer people to food banks. The last Labour government prohibited them from doing so. The use of food banks increased 20 fold from 2005/06 to 2010/11. That does not mean poverty increased 20 fold in Labour's last five years in office.

The main reason people use food banks is delays in processing benefits claims. Under Labour 86% of payments were processed on time. Under the coalition 92% of payments were processed on time. Still not good enough but a significant improvement.

You can Google all of these things if you don't believe me

There are plenty of people making a lot of noise. Some of it is justified. Most of it is not. Lists of suicides such as the one to which you link will include many people who would have committed suicide anyway. The overall suicide rate is now roughly the same as it was in 2004. There is therefore little justification for saying that the policies of the last government were responsible for large numbers of suicides.

We'll soon find out how many the DWP has really killed in recent years

No we won't. Just because someone has died whilst receiving Incapacity Benefit or ESA it does not mean the DWP is in any way responsible for that death. It may be responsible for some of them. It is certainly not responsible for all of them. And, of course, there are plenty of people who would have died but for the DWP.

blacksunday Sat 30-May-15 18:04:01

I don't care what Labour did.

And your post is nothing but obfuscatory nonsense.

Isitmebut Sat 30-May-15 20:01:59

The obligatory blacksunday OP propaganda, then once effectively challenged, finally distancing him/herself from the Labour Party, ending with an attack on another posters factual content, right before going M.I.A.

Another classic, brought to you computer via the medium of Mumsnet.

pastmyduedate0208 Sun 31-May-15 08:47:24

Isitme doesn't care how or why poor people die so long as all money generated in society continues to pour directly into the pockets of the already wealthy.

It's not an argument on Tory vs Labour. They are both the same when it comes to the wealth divide (or 'war' depending how u see it).

Labour are responsible for the most hideous crimes in allocation of profit. PFI NHS Anyone?.

The fact is that while we still live in a society where trillions of pounds generated in tax by normal hard working people gets given in subsidy to fossil fuel companies and by to let landlords(and since on) our culture of punishing the poor to benefit the wealthy will only get worse.

"if you're poor, it's your own fault and you should just die" right, isitme ?

pastmyduedate0208 Sun 31-May-15 08:57:11

www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/may/18/fossil-fuel-companies-getting-10m-a-minute-in-subsidies-says-imf

www.theguardian.com/politics/2015/may/26/landlords-14bn-tax-breaks-buy-to-let-expansion-mortgage-interest

It is society that generates wealth, private companies and capitalists don't create it out of thin air. Yet there is no social responsibility in our culture. This is the problem.

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