Theresa May refuses to reveal any details of disabled benefit claimants’ suicides, instead says ‘work is the best route out of poverty’

Theresa May has refused to reveal any details of suicides by disabled benefit claimants, instead cruelly declaring: “Work is the best route out of poverty.”

The Prime Minister resisted the call by SNP MP Deidre Brock to publish details of anyone who had taken their own life.

Ms Brock’s request, at Prime Minister’s Questions in the House of Commons, came after she pressed the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) to release analysis it has prepared on claimants of the all-in-one benefit Universal Credit.

The MP says the DWP is fighting an order by the Information Commissioner watchdog to release the data.

Previously a committee of MPs in 2015 identified 40 suicides by benefit claimants. It was unclear how many, if any, were linked to changes to benefits.

The Department for Work and Pensions headquarters in Westminster (Image: PA)
Separate previous research by the DWP showed 2,650 benefit claimants died shortly after being found ‘fit for work’ between December 2011 and February 2014.

These deaths were from all causes and did not specify suicides, if any.

Ms Brock said at Prime Minister’s Questions: “Will she instruct the DWP to release the details of benefit claimants with disabilities who’ve taken their own lives after their claims were turned down, stopped without notice or significantly reduced?”

The PM replied: “The DWP does not give details of individuals with whom it deals and that’s absolutely right.

“What it does do is ensure that we have a welfare system that provides support to those who need it, and a welfare system that increasingly encourages those who can to get into the workplace.

“Because we continue to believe that work is the best route out of poverty.”


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