How many more DWP deaths will there be?

Mum, 27, took fatal overdose after litany of 28 failings in DWP benefit claim, I don’t call it failings I call it culpable manslaughter! Time and time again we saw death after death and the DWP refused to act or denied that there was a problem, whilst we saw death after death because of the DWP’s negligence. Sadly, I have written/reblogged many articles about DWP deaths and they never fail to upset me, mainly because my own husband truthfully admits he’d have been one of “collateral damage” if I hadn’t have fought tooth and nail for him

Apart from the more famous cases, like

Tory “welfare reforms” are estimated to have killed a quarter of a million people in the last decade and don’t tell me the Tories didn’t know what they were doing, just as some thought Covid 19 was an excellent opportunity get rid of elderly bedblockers

Philippa Day, who suffered from agoraphobia and anxiety, was found collapsed in bed in August 2019 – next to a letter warning her she must attend a face-to-face appointment. A 27-year-old mum took a fatal overdose after a litany of 28 “failings” over her disability benefit claim, an inquest has ruled.

Pip was "in despair because of the depths to which she had sunk", her sister Imogen said
Another sad DWP casualty

A coroner issued a damning verdict today on the actions of the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) after the death of Philippa Day, known as Pip, from Nottingham. Assistant Coroner Gordon Clow issued a rare Prevention of Future Deaths report against the DWP and Capita, which it pays to run disability benefit assessments.

Outlining 28 “problems” with the way Pip’s claim was handled, the coroner said: “Given the sheer number of problems in the handling of Philippa’s claim, I am unable to conclude that each of these was attributable to individual human errors.” Issues caused by the problems in handling her benefit claim were “the predominant factor, and the only acute factor, which led to her decision to take an overdose,” the coroner added.

Capita apologised to the family for the “mistakes made” in processing her claim. The DWP said it will “carefully consider” the findings of the coroner. CAPITA SHOULD BE FACING MANSLAUGHTER CHARGES WITH THE DWP!!!!

Pip’s sister Imogen said tonight: “We believe that Pip’s treatment by the DWP had a direct impact on her mental state and in the end is the reason for her death. “She was in despair because of the depths to which she had sunk. “She could see no way out of the debt and the poverty in which she was living. “Pip’s poor mental health meant she was not able to handle the battle with the DWP for the reinstatement of her benefits. “The stress of the conflict with the DWP made her even more ill.”

Pip’s family say her weekly money was cut from £228 a week to just £60 in 2019 as she battled to switch from old-style DLA to Personal Independence Payment (PIP) in a lengthy back-and-forth with the DWP and Capita. That June she told the DWP she was £5,000 in debt, the coroner said, telling them in a phone call: “I cannot survive, like physically survive, for another eight weeks, six weeks, four weeks whatever, without any money.” Pip, who the inquest heard had a history of self-harm and suicidal ideation, said the situation was “a hole I cannot get out of. It has affected my identity, I have not had a haircut in over a year”.

The inquest heard Capita asked Pip to attend a face-to-face appointment in June 2019 to be assessed for PIP. That was despite “a number of medical reports stating that this was not safe and appropriate” due to her mental health, which included agoraphobia and anxiety.

Pip was found collapsed in bed in August that year – next to a DWP letter warning her she must attend a face-to-face appointment – and taken to hospital.

Two weeks later, Capita determined it could determine her case without an assessment and in September 2019 she was awarded PIP after all, the coroner said. But by then she was in a coma from which she did not recover, the coroner said. Just over a month later she died of a brain injury.

The inquest heard that a “distressing and factually inaccurate letter was sent to Philippa” before her death, advising her that if she failed to attend the appointment “without good reason”, her claim would “likely” be refused.

The coroner said: “It is significant she had the letter by her side at the time she took her overdose.”

Reaching his conclusion, the coroner added, according to Nottingham Live: “The administration of Philippa Day’s benefits claim was characterised by multiple errors. “As a result of errors made, Philippa Day’s income from benefits more than halved for a period of several months, causing her severe financial hardship.

“A decision was made in June 2019 to require her to attend an assessment at a centre. “The distress caused by the administration of her welfare benefits claim left her suffering acute distress and exacerbated many of her other chronic stresses.

Were it not for these problems it is unlikely Philippa Day would’ve taken an overdose on August 7 or 8 2019.”

Mr Clow said he had been “made aware” of changes which will be made at the DWP and Capita. The inquest heard that both organisations had completed internal reviews.

Areas of concern for the coroner:

  • Mental health training did not form part of the mandatory training of call handlers before they are required to handle such calls
  • Record keeping at the DWP
  • Additional support markers for vulnerable claimants – already ‘clear evidence’ of improvement
  • The institutional working assumption the DWP documents which are not on file are missing because the claimant failed to send them in
  • The wording of the reminder letter – the DWP agreed to review this
  • The training provided to disability assessors by Capita – Capita said it is committed to creating online training including emotionally unstable personality disorder

The coroner concluded that Pip took her own life, but was not satisfied that it was “more likely than not” that she had intended her own death.

In a narrative verdict, he said she “could see no way forward” and faced a “dreadful catch-22 situation” by being asked to attend a face-to-face appointment.

The coroner will issue a Prevention of Future Deaths Report directed to the DWP and Capita requiring them to consider and address the following areas:

  • The need for training of mental health training for call handlers (previous training for personality disorder was ‘limited to a fact sheet’)
  • Ensuring correspondence is accurate and does not create unnecessary distress
  • Change in the assessment process including pausing the process when there is a need for a review
  • More record keeping at the DWP

Leigh Day solicitor Merry Varney, who represented the family, said the case left “no doubt that the DWP and Capita through its flawed handling of Pip’s disability benefits claim materially contributed to the death of a much loved mum, sister and daughter.

She said: “My clients hope the changes the DWP and Capita have committed to make are done so promptly and thoroughly to protect other families.”

Fazilet Hadi of Disability Rights UK said: “An independent Inquiry into benefit-related deaths is long overdue. YOU THINK!!!

“Philippa’s story is heartbreaking and reveals gross incompetence by the DWP and Capita.”

A DWP spokesperson said: “This is a deeply tragic case. Our sincere condolences are with Miss Day’s family and we will carefully consider the Coroner’s findings.”

A Capita spokesperson said: “We extend our sincere condolences to Philippa Day’s family over her tragic death. We would like to apologise to them for the mistakes made in processing her claim and the additional stress which was caused to Philippa.

“We have strengthened our processes over the last 18 months and are committed to continuously working to deliver a high-quality, empathetic service for every claimant. STRENGTHENED OUR PROCESS!!! AT WHAT COST!!!! OVER 250,000 LIVES!!!!!!!

“In partnership with the DWP, we will act upon the coroner’s findings and make further improvements to our processes.” TOO LATE FOR PHILIPPA DAY & THOUSANDS OF OTHERS!!!

The Samaritans are there to listen if you have been affected by this story or have any other concerns. Call 116 123 for free day or night.


Major step forward in fight for Jodey Whiting

There’s been a major step forward in fight for mum who killed herself after benefits were stopped. Jodey Whiting’s family have won permission to apply for an ultra-rare second inquest into her death – after multiple failings were found on the part of the DWP.

Joy wants the case into her daughter's death to be reopened

The fight for justice for a mum who killed herself after her benefits were stopped has taken a major step forward.

Jodey Whiting’s family have been granted permission to apply at the High Court for an ultra-rare second inquest into her death. Jodey, from Stockton-on-Tees, took her own life in February 2017 days after her benefits were stopped for missing a fit-for-work test.

A watchdog found multiple failings and ordered the DWP to apologise and pay her family £10,000 in compensation in 2019. But the original inquest in May 2017 lasted just an hour and did not consider the DWP’s role or otherwise in her death, her lawyers say.

Now Jodey’s mother, Joy Dove [above], has been granted permission from the Attorney General to apply for a new inquest. The application will come to the High Court within the next six weeks and a final hearing could happen by next summer. She said the news was a “relief” after a “nightmare” lasting almost four years. And added: “I love my daughter so much and this should never have happened. “What they put her through was terrible, but I hope that this will mean that Jodey has saved others from the same nightmare.”

Her lawyer Merry Varney, of Leigh Day, said: “The Attorney-General’s decision is very welcome.

“It is the first completed step in the long journey by Jodey’s family to seek a full and fearless investigation into whether the DWP, and its flawed decision-making regarding Jodey’s benefits claim, caused or contributed to her death. “We must now apply to the High Court and seek to persuade the Court a fresh inquest is necessary.”

Mum-of-nine Jodey died aged 42 around two weeks after she was told her Employment Support Allowance (ESA) would stop.

Her MP said she missed the assessment because of health problems.

An Independent Case Examiner found five missed opportunities to identify her mental health problems.

Then-Prime Minister Theresa May said last year the case was “appalling” and there were “mistakes” from the DWP.

Jodey’s family sought the opinion of a psychiatrist, who said the DWP’s failings would probably have had a substantial effect on Jodey’s mental state at the time, according to her lawyers.


DWP secretary dodges questions about benefit deaths

Coffey dodges questions from MPs over benefit deaths By John Pring


Work and pensions secretary Therese Coffey has been accused of dodging key questions about links between her department and the suicides and other deaths of benefit claimants, during an evidence sessions with MPs.

Coffey repeatedly told members of the Commons work and pensions select committee yesterday (Wednesday) that she could not answer their questions because of ongoing legal actions being taken by the families of claimants who have died, such as Jodey Whiting and Errol Graham.

This allowed her to avoid questions about why the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) appears to have misled two coroners about a safeguarding review that was supposed to have been completed last year.

cont reading at the source

Grandmother denied benefits dies weighing three stone

Christine McCluskey, 61, was suffering with a number of long-term health issues, including Crohn’s disease, osteoporosis, arthritis and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease when the DWP decided to revoke her benefits.

Christine McCluskey was suffering with lung cancer as well as a number of other long-term health issues, including Crohn’s disease, osteoporosis, arthritis and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

The 61-year-old gran was fed via a tube at the time of her DWP assessment, was severely malnourished and was being investigated for a worrying cough.

Despite these chronic health issues, the DWP removed Christine’s £117.85 a week she received in Personal Independence Payments (PIP) as well as her right to a mobility car.

A month later, Christine’s cancer diagnosis was confirmed – but daughter Michelle, 42, says the DWP still refused to reinstate her beneifts. She had her PIP benefits stopped despite suffering from a number of serious health problems and told the I : “I can’t get my head around how someone could assess my mother as anything but very sick. You only had to look at her to see that.”

Christine, from Dundee, was assessed for her benefits by Independent Assessment Services (IAS), previously known as Atos.

Coffey dodges questions from MPs over benefit deaths

Michelle said they concluded her sick mum was able to walk the 200m needed to be deemed fit on the basis she “hobbled from the sofa to the door to let them in”.

At the time of the assessment in May 2018, Christine weighed 5st 5lbs – shrinking to a shocking 3st when she died in August of the same year. Christine was first assessed at a medical appeal tribunal in 1986 as being at least 80% disabled. Her health rapidly declined again in 2005 when she suffered a stroke.
Michelle McCluskey said it was “disgusting” how her mum’s case was handled. Christine’s Crohn’s disease left her needing a tube to be fed – which she was hooked up to for 16 hours a day.

Michelle added: “Then in the beginning of 2018, her health deteriorated badly. Her weight was never that great – around the six stone mark. At the time of the assessment in May 2018 she weight 5st 5lbs.”  and continued: her “frail” mum “died weighing around three stone.”

She also added that assessors said her mum could get into the bath without help – despite the forms saying they weren’t able to assess her ability to get into the bath because she was so frail.

Michelle claims assessors also concluded the scars on her body from surgery “didn’t look that bad” – despite only briefly looking at one leg.

The letters from the DWP denying Christine the financial support
Christine was able to continue to receive her Employment and Support Allowance, but had her PIP payments and her mobility car withdrawn.

A month later she was diagnosed with tumours on both lungs, with doctors saying the cancer was incurable and she was too weak for surgery or chemotherapy.

Despite Michelle asking them to revoke their decision, the DWP upheld the withdrawal of payments. She has spoken out about her mum’s struggle to support the ‘Scrap 6 Months’ campaign launched by charities Marie Curie and the Motor Neurone Disease Association.

They say thousands of people are dying without any financial support as rules currently stipulate terminally ill people can only get fast track access to financial support if they are told they have six months or less to live. Campaigners argue to unpredictable nature of illnesses means health care professionals cannot always accurately predict when they will die.

Michelle says the financial stress at the end of her mum’s life may have accelerated her death. Five months after her mum’s death, Michelle took the case to tribunal and a judge reversed the decision.

While she was able to get the payments backdated, Michelle said it was “too little too late” and the money should have been used to make her mum’s final days “a little easier.”

A DWP spokesperson said: “Our condolences are with Miss McCluskey’s family.”


Family of Errol Graham win permission to fight DWP in High Court

The Family of 5-stone man who starved to death win permission to fight the DWP in the High Court.

Errol Graham had just two tins of fish in his cupboard when he was found by bailiffs chasing a bill. Now his daughter-in-law will argue the Department for Work and Pensions breached the law

The family of a five-stone man who starved to death after his benefits were stopped have won permission to fight the government in the High Court.

Errol Graham’s daughter-in-law has been granted a two-day judicial review hearing to argue the government’s protection for vulnerable benefit claimants was unlawful.

In an important test case, Alison Turner will also ask judges to declare the Work and Pensions Secretary, Therese Coffey, breached the law by failing to properly review its policies after Errol’s death.

If she wins the judicial review, it could have profound implications for the future of Department for Work and Pensions benefit policy for the most vulnerable.

A DWP spokesman said: “It would be inappropriate for us to comment further at this time.” I BET IT IS!!!

Errol Graham weighed less than five stone when bailiffs found his body in June 2018 – eight months after his ESA disabled benefit was stopped for missing an appointment.

The 57-year-old, who had severe mental health difficulties, had just a couple of five-year-old tins of fish in his cupboard. Mr Graham’s death was referred to a Serious Case Panel. But its membership is secret and the DWP has refused to say if Ms Turner will be allowed to see the findings.

DWP ignored coroner’s call to take action to save claimants from suicide

Ms Turner said in a statement: “Errol had a long history of serious mental illness which left him severely incapacitated. “When the circumstances of his death came to light we had hoped and from what the DWP stated at the inquest, we had expected that the department would review their safeguarding policies and involve us in that review. “But, incredibly, that has not happened.

“No one else should be put at risk in the same way Errol was because adequate safeguarding measures are not in place.” Mr Graham’s death sparked fresh calls for an independent inquiry into benefit claimants’ deaths.

The spiral towards losing his benefits began on 31 August 2017, when he failed to attend a fit-for-work test for his ESA. The ruling was made at the Court of the Appeal in the Royal Courts of Justice

The DWP sent Mr Graham reminders in September and October 2017 asking why he did not attend – but had no reply. Benefit officers then carried out two “safeguarding visits” at his home on 16 and 17 October – again with no reply. But despite the inconclusive visits his ESA ended from 10 October, some days earlier.

In a letter found after his death, he said he “dreaded” any post coming through the door and “sometimes I can’t stand to even hear the washing machine.”

The letter added: “Most days I go to bed hungry.” The DWP now has 35 days to serve Ms Turner with Detailed Grounds and Evidence defending the safeguarding policies.

Her solicitor Tessa Gregory, of Leigh Day, said: “We are delighted that the court has given permission for this case to proceed to a full hearing.

“Our client believes that the DWP’s current safeguarding policies are not fit for purpose as they expose vulnerable individuals to a significant risk of harm, as was so tragically illustrated by Errol’s death.

“The DWP committed at Errol’s inquest to reviewing the applicable policies but two years after his death and one year after the inquest, nothing has changed.

“Our client therefore feels she has been left with no option but to bring these proceedings to try and force the Secretary of State to take steps to ensure that no other families have to suffer in the terrible way her family has.”


read more

Secrecy over DWP panel that examines its own fatal errors

Work and pensions ministers are refusing to release key details of the panel they set up last year to examine deaths linked to the actions of their own department.

See the source image

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) was forced to admit in January that it had lied when it said last year that its new serious case panel would be “independent”. In fact, all the panel members are linked closely to the department.

Disability News Service (DNS) has been trying since January to discover the purpose and scope of the panel, through a freedom of information request. Now the DWP has finally responded to the request, while also responding to questions put to the department by the Commons work and pensions select committee.

But instead of releasing the panel’s terms of reference, DWP has relied on an exemption under section 35 of the Freedom of Information Act, which “protects the private space within which Ministers and their policy advisers can develop policies without the risk of premature disclosure”. DNS has appealed that decision.

continue reading at the source

Tory policies have killed a quarter of a million people in the last decade

Austerity deaths and COVID policies have sent tens of thousands to an early grave.

A decade of Tory austerity, coupled with the more recent COVID-19 mismanagement, has killed over 250,000 people, an exclusive TLE investigation has revealed.

More than 100,000 people have died following social security cuts, while around 120,000 perished due to reductions in health and social spending and experts have predicted that the UK’s COVID-related death toll of circa 60,000 is double the number it needed to be.

Coupled with the tens of thousands of lives cut short by a failure by successive governments to impose tougher legislation to tackle air pollution and you have a pretty grim picture.

Why is the Work Capability Assessment Costing Britain More Than it Saves?

Social security deaths: “Cover-up”

As part of Tory-Liberal coalition and later Tory government “reforms,” unprecedented numbers of social security claims were denied or terminated. Between March 2014 and February 2017, 119,590 deaths were recorded by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).

The deceased had recently been “flowed off” Incapacity Benefit, Severe Disablement Allowance, and/or Employment Support Allowance. Many died as a direct result: Stress triggered fatal heart-attacks, strokes, and seizures; significant numbers of claimants with depression killed themselves; anxiety shortened the lives of terminally-ill people; and some starved to death. In the same period, life expectancy declined. Consider the following cases as a tiny sample of the broader toll:

After his social security was terminated, Mark Wood (44) of Oxfordshire was found dead, weighing five stone. Likewise, Errol Graham (57) died in his Nottingham flat with no gas or electricity, weighing four-and-a-half-stone.

TORIES: And the cost of a life

Forty-nine-year-old James Oliver’s death in Hastings from chronic liver disease was accelerated by the stress caused by the DWP’s refusal to award social security. His brother, David Smith, says that James sank into despair: “He just downed more or less anything he could lay his hands on.” The death of Moira Drury (61) of Essex, who had cancer, was also hastened by the torment. Her daughter Nichole said: “She told me the day before she died that the stress of having her benefits removed contributed to her decline.”

David Barr (28) of Fife jumped from the Forth Road Bridge after his money was stopped. Leanne Chambers (30) drowned herself in the River Wear, Durham, in fear of an impending Work Capability Assessment. Citing data protection, between 2015 and 2020, the DWP destroyed 50 internal reviews into claimants’ suicides. Linda Cooksey, the sister of the blind and agoraphobic suicide victim, Tim Salter, describes it as a “cover-up.”

Health and social care cuts: “Economic murder”

In addition to the above, successive Tory governments cut back on health and social care. A few years ago, the BMJ published a study suggesting that 120,000 people in England alone had died and would die between 2010 and 2020 as a result of health and social care cuts. DWP cuts killed people of all ages. Health and social spending reductions mainly ended the lives of the over-60s.

According to the study, between 2001 and 2010 under Labour PMs Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, average per capita health spending increased by 3.8 percent a year. Deaths decreased by 0.77 percent. Between 2010 and 2015 under the Tory-Liberal coalition, annual spending increased by just 0.4 percent and excess annual mortality increased by 0.87 percent. The majority of the estimated 45,000 excess deaths between 2010 and 2014 occurred in care homes.

Since 2010, the Tories have cut local social care budgets by 9 percent per person. Age UK found that by 2019, 1.3m pensioners, including those who could afford to pay, were waiting for care home vacancies. Between June 2017 and December 2019, 74,000 elderly people in England alone died without receiving the social care they needed. Care providers typically say that applicants either do not meet eligibility requirements or the applicants are passed to other service providers.

Just a few DWP victims:

Consider the effects of cuts to the health system.

Over 5,000 people died between 2016 and 2019 on hospital trolleys after waiting between six and 11 hours for treatment. Donald Driver (84) of Coventry died after falling from a trolley, following a six-hour wait: “had my father been prioritised … [he] would still be here,” said his daughter, Emma. Ambulance response times are worsening. Joseph Edge (74) of Denbighshire, Wales, died of a heart-attack after waiting 16 hours for an ambulance. In addition, between 2013 and 2017, appointment waiting times increased by 50 percent and preventable deaths increased by a quarter. Norma Smith (57) of Cumbria died of a heart-attack and from oesophageal cancer, following a seven-month wait to see an ear, nose, and throat specialist.

Cambridge Professor Lawrence P. King, who participated in the BMJ study, described austerity as “a public health disaster. It is not an exaggeration to call it economic murder.”

Coronavirus: Government PIP figures provide fresh evidence of virus deaths

Covid-19: “Superman”

The decade of Tory-Liberal cuts brought much of the UK to the brink of collapse. Then COVID-19 struck. The Tory cult of ultra-neoliberalism’s first reaction was to save profits (“the economy”) by carrying on as normal.

“[W]hen there is a risk that new diseases such as coronavirus will trigger a panic and a desire for market segregation that go beyond what is medically rational,” Boris Johnson told businesses in February, “humanity needs some government somewhere that is willing at least to make the case powerfully for freedom of exchange.” Johnson said that the UK (meaning the poor and vulnerable) would be that country: “ready to take off its Clark Kent spectacles and leap into the phone booth and emerge with its cloak flowing.”

Superman Johnson turned out to be a COVID super-spreader, boasting on 3 March, and in defiance of local guidelines for physical contact: “I was at a hospital where there were a few coronavirus patients and I shook hands with everybody.” Some in Johnson’s cabinet, as well as his scientific advisors, subsequently caught COVID. Following the alleged advice of Dominic Cummings (which he and the government deny), namely “herd immunity …if that means some pensioners die, too bad,” it was as late as 23 March that the UK officially locked-down. The Johnson government also refused to follow World Health Organization guidelines on tracking, testing, and tracing.

By June, the Office for National Statistics reported 63,000 excess deaths, the majority of which were linked to coronavirus and its effects. In the US, research suggests that early lockdowns could have prevented significant rates of mortality. In the UK, Professor John Edmunds of the government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies said: “I wish we had gone into lockdown earlier. That has cost a lot of lives.” Two days later, Professor Neil Ferguson, one of the original modellers at Imperial College London, told the Science and Technology Committee: “had we introduced lockdown measures a week earlier, we would have reduced the final death toll by at least a half.”

Ergo, the Johnson administration is responsible for at least 30,000 COVID-related fatalities.


also see

TORIES: And the cost of a life

Regular readers of my blog, don’t need me to tell you that life is very cheap where the Tories are concerned and if you are disabled or [as in my case] have disabled relatives, you know this fact only too well!

The lives lost because of denial of benefits, via the welfare “reforms” is incalculable. My husband says: “I wouldn’t be here now, if I didn’t have my wife in my corner to take on my fight.”

You only have to look in the DWP ATROCITIES category of this blog to see hundreds of articles about the cruelty inflicted upon the sick; disabled, mentally ill, jobless and immigrants. It has been truthfully called what it is a hostile environment and the Tories meted out to those that they thought deserved it most.

see DWP criticised for ‘incredible secrecy’ over deaths of benefit claimants

We lost people like:

And the government DID NOTHING to stop the cruelty, forcing families to take legal action. We had monsters like Iain Duncan Smith thinking he was being “kind” to sick and disabled people.

sick – A Latent Existence

As well as the DWP scandals, we have Windrush and the hostile environment meted out to people that had no memory of living in any other country. Grenfell and the terrible loss of life caused by profit, causing 72 deaths and even to this day residents are still homeless

I could go and on, but [in many cases] people are “blind” to the deaths and mayhem that the Tories have caused. Do they simply not care? Or do they have the same view of Toby Young and his ilk and think that eugenics should see these people killed off?

please feel free to comment in the comments below.

Boris Johnson’s 11 fatal errors in handling coronavirus crisis which cost lives.  EXCLUSIVE: From the PPE supply and testing fiasco to failure to safeguard the most vulnerable in our care homes, the PM and his ministers have overseen a litany of shameful errors.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson 

Boris Johnson today stands accused of a terrifying mishandling of the coronavirus crisis.

From the PPE supply and testing fiasco to failure to safeguard the most vulnerable in our care homes, he and his ministers have overseen a litany of shameful errors. AND IT ISN’T SINCE THE PANDEMIC EITHER! Anyone sick or disabled will know that that statement is true. [see above]

More than 40,000 people have paid with their lives. Now there must be a reckoning. THEY ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR TENS OF THOUSANDS OF LOST LIVES!

Pressure is growing among MPs for a public inquiry in autumn so lessons can be learned as we head into 2021 still battling the virus. And it could cost Johnson his job. A senior Tory said: “If you were to read out the victims’ names on his charge sheet at that inquiry it would take 13 hours. We’re pencilling in a leadership contest in January.”

Shadow health secretary Jonathan Ashworth 

When lockdown began 77 days ago, Imperial College London predicted deaths as low as 5,600. Now we’re heading towards eight times that. For shadow health secretary Jonathan Ashworth, discharging infected hospital patients into care homes tops the PM’s rap sheet.

“The Government said it put a protective ring around them. But thousands died.”

Then there is the economic disaster predicted to see four million jobless by September. It may have been averted had the PM taken Covid-19 more seriously before he caught it instead of missing five COBRA meetings. Today we hold him to account with the charges he must answer.

Charge 1: Europe’s biggest toll

We now have more than 40,000 dead compared to 33,700 in Italy, 29,000 in France, 27,000 in Spain and 8,700 in Germany. With all settings included, UK deaths may top 61,000.

In the last week of May there were 236 newly confirmed UK cases per million population compared to 168 in Portugal, 100 in France and 71 in Ireland.

VERDICT: Toll reflects failure to protect vulnerable and elderly.

Charge 2: Care homes hell

Lack of PPE for staff, failure to test and releasing hospital patients with Covid-19 back into homes led to disaster. In the 10 weeks before the outbreak an average 2,600 residents died each week. By April, that hit 7,900.

Social care deaths are now estimated at 20,000 (

Social care deaths are now estimated at 20,000. The Government’s £3.2billion in emergency funding was less than half what the sector needs.

VERDICT: Protecting NHS was vital, but it led to neglect of frail and elderly. Health and social care must be linked.

Charge 3: Testing failure

Too few test were available before lockdown. Testing and tracing must be fully functional to avoid needless deaths as lockdown eases, says the Health Foundation. At the virus peak, the UK conducted 10.13 tests per 1,000 people compared to Italy’s 32.73, Ireland’s 31 and Germany’s 30.4.

By Friday, Britain had tested 73,000 per million of population – below Belgium, Russia, Portugal and Spain. UK Statistics Authority chair Sir David Norgrove branded Health Secretary Matt Hancock’s figures “far from complete and comprehensible”.

VERDICT: Testing and tracing is not enough. Track and isolate is crucial.

Charge 4: Masks rule too late

Rail, bus, ferry and air passengers will only have to travel with face masks from June 15.

Yet the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies recommended them in April where social distancing was not possible.

VERDICT: Boris Johnson’s claim to be following the science was a lie.

Charge 5: Cancer ignored

Cancer cases will go up by an estimated 23,000 as 2.4 million people have missed screening and tests. Michelle Mitchell of Cancer Research UK said: “Prompt diagnosis and treatment remain crucial to give people the greatest chances of survival.”

VERDICT: The PM took his eye off this ball.

Charge 6: Late quarantine

As lockdown began, flights still touched down from China, even though Australia had banned them six weeks earlier. There were 3.1 million Heathrow arrivals in March – nearly 500,000 from Asia, 875,000 from the EU and 711,000 from North America.

But from January to lockdown only 273 of the 18million arrivals in the UK were quarantined. Between mid-March and the start of April new cases rose from 2,000 to 6,000 a day.

VERDICT: The 14 days quarantine from tomorrow should have been in place in January.

Charge 7: Impact on jobs

Around 1,200 jobs an hour are disappearing, with the young hardest hit. The Resolution Foundation says nearly one in 10 18 to 24-yr-olds have lost jobs.

The Institute for Fiscal Studies found closed sectors such as hospitality employed a third of all workers under 25.

VERDICT: A massive retraining and reskilling programme must be introduced.

Charge 8: Schooling crisis

Only Reception, Years 1 and 6 are back at school out of nearly nine million children. Class sizes of no more than 15 mean schools are at 50 per cent capacity.

The Education Endowment Foundation says the attainment gap between middle and working class children could now be up to 75 per cent.

VERDICT: The PM must explain how he can open schools to more pupils and introduce one-to-one tuition to help poorer kids catch up.

Charge 9: High street mess

During the crisis, clothing and furniture prices have suffered their biggest drop since records began – a 4.6 per cent fall in May after a 3.7 per cent decline in April.

British Retail Consortium boss Helen Dickinson said: “As non-essential shops reopen from June 15, consumer demand is expected to remain weak.”

VERDICT: Johnson must act to relax Sunday trading laws to help shops survive.

Charge 10: Housing collapse

The price of the average home dropped last month by £4,013 to £218,902 with sales down 53 per cent on the same period last year.

But for private renters who pay an average 45 per cent of their income for a roof over their head, compared to 19 per cent for owner-occupiers, the situation is dire. Three million are just one payslip away from losing their home.

VERDICT: Scrap Stamp Duty to boost sales, and extend the evictions ban until the end of 2020.

Charge 11: Mixed messages

Among so many, the latest came from Matt Hancock on Friday. He announced surgical masks would be mandatory for all hospital staff from June 15, but had failed to inform them.

Chris Hopson, head of NHS Providers, said: “Last minute decisions are being made on the hoof.” Previously Hancock said there was little evidence masks stopped transmission.

VERDICT: Mixed messages cost lives. The PM says he’s in charge. So prove it.


DWP should not be marking its own homework over claimants’ deaths, says MP


Concerns over deaths linked to benefits system difficulties should prevent a Government department “marking its own homework”, ministers have been told. Labour MP Debbie Abrahams claimed there is “growing evidence” of sick and disabled people in receipt of social security support having died prematurely.

An independent review into the deaths is required to find out if Government “incompetence or a cover-up” has failed to protect vulnerable claimants, the former shadow work and pensions secretary added.

Nothing more than a fully independent review into social security claimants’ deaths will do: Labour MP Debbie Abrahams

Ms Abrahams has been a long-term critic of the Department for Work and Pension’s (DWP) handling of cases for some vulnerable claimants, including reassessment of disabled people and sanctions.

She recently fought back tears during a Commons debate as she read out the names of people who have died after experiencing difficulties with the system, spending almost three minutes listing more than 20 cases.

The DWP has also faced questions over its decision not to retain reviews linked to deaths of benefits claimants, which include suicides or alleged suicides. In response to a freedom of information request, the department said records prior to 2015/16 have been “destroyed or are incomplete in line with GDPR/data retention policies”.

The National Audit Office has also said the suicides of 69 welfare claimants have been investigated by the Government but the true scale of such deaths could be far higher. The watchdog, in a report released in February, said only nine internal process reviews arose from communications with coroners, 19 were prompted by media reports while others were triggered by claimants’ families.

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The Department for Work and Pensions in Westminster, London

Ms Abrahams, who is a member of the Work and Pensions Committee, said: “With the DWP’s destruction of ‘peer reviews’ records into claimants’ deaths prior to 2015, and their failure to supply coroners’ reports that they held to the independent reviewers of the work capability assessment process, I’m afraid the time has passed for the DWP to be marking its own homework.

“Nothing more than a fully independent review into social security claimants’ deaths will do. “Others need to decide whether Government incompetence or a cover up has failed to protect vulnerable claimants.

“They also need to examine which factors in the social security system are associated with an increased prevalence of these deaths and the additional health risk that they pose.

“Is it the poverty and destitution claimants have faced as a result of the inadequacy of social security support? Is it the social security policies themselves, for example, the work capability assessment and personal independence payment assessments, sanctions, or Universal Credit? “Is it how the policies are implemented with the drive to get claimants ‘off flow’? Or is it a combination of these factors?”

A DWP spokeswoman said: “We take these issues extremely seriously and ensure cases are investigated and any lessons learned.

“Further to these reviews we established the independent serious case panel to identify systemic issues and are urgently working to drive forward improvements in the system.”

Charity sparks anger over DWP deaths inquiry

Rethink sparks anger over deaths inquiry petition, after snubbing Justice for Jodey – By John Pring DNS

Jodey Whiting head and shoulders
Jodey Whiting

Disabled activists have questioned why a charity is spearheading a new campaign to call for an inquiry into deaths linked to the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), eight months after refusing to support a similar call by user-led groups.

Last year, Rethink was one of the large disability charities that refused to back the Justice for Jodey Whiting petition, which itself called for an inquiry into links between DWP and the deaths of benefit claimants.

The petition also called for evidence of criminal misconduct by civil servants and ministers to be passed to police, for DWP to be branded institutionally disablist and not fit for purpose, and for the department to take urgent steps to make the safety of benefit claimants a priority.

Rethink was among the major disability charities that refused to support the petition, and the charity also refused to back the call for an inquiry.