Sunday, 14 June 2015

Death Statistics

Oh! The curse of a liberal conscience!

It used to be quite trendy to claim a working class background and then rage against the iniquities of the system that keep certain demographics: the wontenly unemployed, the undeserving poor, the fake sick, the so-called 'disabled', from making a lot of money and putting their children in the good schools. Now that we're ALL middle class, or discounted, it's not quite so fashionable, so I am coming down the chimney and out of the sweat-shop with some reluctance.

I have a working class background! There! I've said it.

I'm not sure this qualifies me more than, say, a celebrity, to have an opinion on the life of the not-so well-offs, but it does give me a perspective, if only because I've stayed in touch.

The poor die first. This should come as no surprise, but should perhaps give you pause for thought. Stress, poor diet, scant education, and the rest, weights the dice, even against the 'hard-working families' that is now politico-speak for 'the poor', bless them, and they snuff it some time before those of us with better options. And more clout, let's be honest.

The upcoming budget will slash welfare. Just wait and see. I have this on good authority from someone who knows, but Hey! With £12 billion of cuts to be made to salvage the economy, and higher taxes being against God, it doesn't take a prophet to see what's coming.

Every Monday and Wednesday I serve food to people who wouldn't otherwise eat that day. Stunning isn't it? 2015, and there are men and women on the streets of a city in one of the richest countries in the world, who are hungry. And housed in places we wouldn't be seen dead in.

Console yourself, if you can, with the thought they somehow must 'deserve' to starve, or just wave away the plight of the 'underclass' because it's all you know how to do, but don't be ignorant of it.

Iain Duncan Smith wants you ignorant. The Department of Work and Pensions has appealed an attempt by others with the curse of a liberal conscience to gain, under the Freedom of Information Act, the stats on how many people die after being placed under sanctions. That is, having their benefits stopped for six weeks. Frankly, I little care as to why their benefits are stopped. Nobody should die for missing an appointment, or being too thick to understand what's happening to them. Should they? They might not BE dying of course. If IDS has his way, you'll never know.

If people have to die so that the fortunate amongst us can continue living the good life, so be it. But in fairness to them, I think we should know of their sacrifice, don't you?


Ian Duncan Smith is attempting to block the publication of "death statistics" that will reveal how many people have died within six weeks of their benefits being stopped.

After a freedom of information request, The Information Commissioner’s Office has said that there is no reason not to publish these figures but Ian Duncan Smith's department - the Department of Work and Pensions - has launched an appeal to prevent the figures being made public.

I've started this petition to call on the Courts and Tribunal Service to dismiss this appeal and so prevent any further delay by the DWP in publishing these figures. Please support me.

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.

Please support this petition to dismiss the appeal and publish the "death stats".

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