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Government won’t apologise for benefit suicides

This news post is over 6 years old

SNP minister called on the government to apologise and admit its failings

Claims made by an SNP MP that people have taken their own lives because of welfare reforms are "appalling and unsubstantiated" the UK’s work and pensions’ minister said in a heated exchange.

Sarah Newton branded Deidre Brock’s claims "shameful" and accused her of deliberately misusing data after the SNP minister urged Newton to "apologise to the victims of the government's actions."

The exchange came during a question from Labour in the Commons on the timetable of personal independence payments (PIP) back payments.

Brock, SNP spokeswoman for employment, said: "I find it shameful and depressing that it took a court case to drag this government back to the edge of decency and I find the money wasted on legal proceedings abhorrent."

She added: "Will the secretary of state apologise to the victims of the government's actions? I appreciate she's new in post but I think this is important.

"Will she also apologise to the families of those who have taken their own lives as a result of Government's benefit policies and will she confirm she is now undertaking to restore some semblance of dignity to this area of policy by reviewing all PIP cases where benefits have been stopped or reduced rather than just those involving mental health."

Responding, Newton, said: "It is with deep regret that she has made such appalling and unsubstantiated claims about people committing suicide as a result.

"We in this house, all of us have a duty to be very mindful of the language we use and the evidence that we use for making such assertions.

"We are talking about some of the most vulnerable people in society and it is shameful when members in this house deliberately misuse data."

The UK government announced that all 1.6m PIP claims are to be reviewed, of which at least 220,000 are expected to get uprated.

John McCardle from the Black Triangle Campaign said “the denial has to end here and now.”

He added: “We at Black Triangle Campaign are keeping the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Disabled People in Geneva briefed on developments on a continual basis.

“It is clear that UK government has no interest in engaging meaningfully with the damning findings in their report.

“Nevertheless, we will endeavour to hold them to account both nationally and internationally.”



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Alan Cowan
over 6 years ago
This whole article is apalling. From the subject matter to the comments to the fact that it has been reported in TFN with absolutely no indication on how this relates to the Third Sector in Scotland. Instead of grandstanding it would be more beneficial if some lobbying could be done on the Human Rights of those on benefits to ensure they will be observed under the right to social security. Instead of pointing out the obvious we should be assessing what powers are available to make the situation better and applying them. The fact that the UK government refused to be baited by the SNP spokesperson on making an apology is not the issue , even if it makes a good headline.
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