Pressure mounting on DWP to halt appeals process into releasing data on benefit-related deaths in UK
Over 125,000 people have signed a petition demanding the government release details of benefit-related deaths in the UK.
The Change.org petition demands that the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) publish the figures upon the Freedom of Information (FoI) act.
England and Wales’ information commissioner last month told the DWP it was to release the figures.
But since then the government has initiated a potentially lengthy appeals process in a bid to delay releasing the data.
The petition says: “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 believe the public needs to know the full impact of benefit changes - Maggie Zolobajluk
Maggie Zolobajluk, who posted the petition, said: “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.
“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 DWP 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.