DWP head denies sanctions and suicide link

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Damian Green giving evidence to Holyrood - while an anti-sanctions campaigner in  the background gets the message across.

​Welfare minister defends sanctions regime, despite evidence it is hurting the vulnerable

Graham Martin's photo

4th November 2016 by Graham Martin 11 Comments

Benefits sanctions supremo Damian Green has denied there is a link between welfare policies and suicide – despite his own department admitting the vulnerable have been put at risk.

Green appeared before the Scottish Parliament’s social security committee and was grilled over Westminster’s punitive regime.

Campaigners have linked the sanctions system – where claimants can have lifeline cash stopped for the most trivial of so called offences – with a string of suicides.

Secret Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) papers, which were only divulged after a legal fight, highlighted widespread flaws that lead to vulnerable claimants experiencing trauma.

They almost accused you of murdering people

In one case, a coroner explicitly stated that a man killed himlself as a result of being found fit for work.

At the committee, Green was confronted by this by SNP MSP George Adam, who said campaigners from the Black Triangle group had previously told the committee that "basically the regime of Personal Independence Payment assessments (which assess people with a disability for benefits) is sending people to go and commit suicide".

He added: "They almost accused you of murdering people."

However, Green trenuously denied this, saying: "There is no evidence, and I think bringing people who committed suicide into political debate is always unfortunate.

"Clearly every suicide is a tragedy, there are complex reasons behind every one, and as I say to try and politicise individual tragedies like this always seems to me to be very unfortunate."

He added: "It is absolutely not the intention of anyone connected with the welfare system, whether it's ministers or staff of the DWP, to cause distress.

"The system is there to help people and I see it as an essential part of my job to try and set up structures and set up the organisation of the system so that it is there to help."

At the committee, Green was presented with a copy of the screenplay to the film I,Daniel Blake, which tells the story of a benefits claimant.

Green has previously dismissed the film and the world of poverty and desperation it portrays as “a fiction”.

However, he was given a copy of the screenplay with a personal message written in it from scriptwriter Paul Laverty.

It read: “We noticed you condemned our film in parliament as having “no relationship to the modern benefits system” and as being “monstrously unfair” to job centre staff.

“It’s a pity you didn’t see our film first. Do you always reach conclusions without examining the evidence? Especially while standing at the dispatch box?

“I thought the script might be easier for you in your busy schedule.

“For the record, we stand by every single incident as a fair reflection of what is going on today. If you haven’t time for this script, visit a foodbank. They wil tell you what they told us.

“Do the decent thing – put an end to this barbaric and systematic attack on our fellow citizens.”

4th November 2016 by Robert Curtis

I have several illnesses and my mental state has got worse with what benefits are doing. My sister said if my brother dies due this situation she goes to do sue dwp an the government.

5th November 2016 by Samuel Miller

Please read:'No one should die penniless and alone': the victims of Britain's harsh welfare sanctions | Society | The Guardian https://www.theguardian.com/society/2014/aug/03/victims-britains-harsh-welfare-sanctionsCoroners versus DWP « Stop MP lies & propaganda https://endpropaganda.wordpress.com/2016/08/23/coroners-versus-dwp/The increasing death toll due to the loss of benefits | Telling it as it is https://mzolobajluk.wordpress.com/2015/09/14/the-increasing-death-toll-due-to-the-loss-of-benefits/

5th November 2016 by A

He's a Fucken despicable horrible lying cunt just like the rest of them at the DWP

5th November 2016 by Bill

If Green sees it unfortunate to bringing people who committed suicide into a political debate, it's unfortunate he was born. So many people have lost their lives because of this traitors sick and stupid attitude. Hopefully the day will come when he stands in court and gets charged with their death's.

5th November 2016 by Lisa Ringe

This is rubbish. There's obviously a link because I tried suicide down to the upset and stress this caused me. Unfortunately it didn't work.

6th November 2016 by Jane Lawson

Evry day nite in constantly in terror about the changes fron this to that dla to pip i hav many problems and i eud tather kill myself than hav another tribrunal it was terrifying i ended up needing medical attn afterand i had sort of won it but iv suffered a horrific attack and wud rather that afain than tribrunal xxx

7th November 2016 by mike knoth

same old nasty party wich refuses to properly fund mental health servicesdamian green thinks he knows better than corfonersSAME OLD NASTY PARTY ONLY SEE WHAT THEY WANT, KILLING PEOPLE KILLING THE NHS ONL;Y LABOUR CAN SAVE THE NHS

11th November 2016 by Larry

I was sent/forced on a EPP course(self-management health and well being course) by job centre advisor even after telling him that i just had a mental relapse. Went and came from there feeling worse. Later on that evening i took an overdose and woke up in A+E with all wires stuck to me and on a drip. I ended up spending a week in the psychiatric ward before being let out and visited every day by the crisis team. My wife is now petrified that i'm going to try again. while there they discovered that i suffered a mini stroke not long before.

14th January 2017 by Kasie

I have been very ill over dec.month.pneumonia.chest infection.earache.had medical proof and medication.l cannot hear well.so mobile is no use.l notified my j.c.by letter.l could not get to j.c.on the 9.12.016.received.letter.my un.cr.has all been cancelled.having suffered since 7.12.016 up to 12.1.017.no hot water.heating.l am now back to this again.l am still very weak.to do anything.yes l feel l want to end my life.l can't take anymore mistakes from j.c. and dwp.who since july have never replied to any of my letters..

14th January 2017 by Bededsoon

I wish l was not british.then l would be given everything going.lm going to start my own army.first rid.j.c.next dwp.Then 5he entire goverment.for messing up British families lives.next housing and councils..thats it...free for all..britian is back to normal..LET'S PARTY ....

16th March 2017 by Lisa

I honestly dont know how they can sleeep at night knowing what they are doing to sick and vunerable people when your own doctor gives you a sick note hes doing it cos you are not well and cannot work these are people who have kmowm there paitents for a long time and give them the treatment they need nothing like these atos and maximus assessors who havnt a clue about you .i have tried to take my own life has struggling to deal with money is really hard and stressful but these people dont care about us