MP raises fears over welfare cuts despair

Date published: 09 October 2012

Oldham Labour MP Debbie Abrahams has warned cutting the welfare budget could result in more people taking their own lives.

The Oldham East and Saddleworth MP followed Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith’s speech to the Tory Party conference that the welfare budget will be slashed by a further £10 billion in the next round of Government cuts.

Mrs Abrahams fears the refusal of benefits may push some people to despair.

Mrs Abrahams fears Atos — the company carrying out medical assessments on people claiming incapacity benefit - has insufficient knowledge of various medical conditions.

Last month Oldham West and Royton MP Michael Meacher highlighted the case of a constituent who suffered from epilepsy and was unable to work despite medication. He was certified “unemployable” in 2008 — but an Atos assessment said he could work — despite constant fits — and his benefits were cut. He died less than four months later, and afterwards his family was told their son should not have been categorised fit to work. Mr Meacher called for Atos assessments to be suspended.

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