Scottish Referendum

Welfare Reforms

Welfare Reforms Debate. Hansard Record

Ian Mearns: Labour MP Gateshead

“Put bluntly, this Government, the Department for Work and Pensions and their agencies are telling us, repeatedly, that people who are dying are fit for work.

Between January 2011 and November 2011, some 10,600 employment and support allowance claims ended and a date of death was recorded within six weeks of the claim end.

This Government have repeatedly refused to release updated 2013 statistics on deaths within six weeks of the end of an ESA claim, calling such requests for information “vexatious”.

Four people a day are dying within six weeks of being declared fit for work under the WCA—it is scandalous and an indictment of this place.

Some might consider this bad taste, but I am told that there was a story doing the rounds that when the bones of Richard III were discovered in Leicester, Atos carried out an assessment and judged him fit for work.

It would be funny if it was not so sad. It is a sad truth faced by 12,000-plus families who every year face their own personal tragedies of this nature—it is a reality.”

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