‘Fit for work’ death figures refusal under fire

Date published: 30 June 2015

OLDHAM East and Saddleworth MP Debbie Abrahams has slammed the Government over its refusal to publish figures on deaths relating to benefit sanctions.

Mrs Abrahams accused Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith of behaving as if they were “above the law” over the handling of a freedom of information request to find out how many people have died after being found “fit” for work.

The Government is waging a legal fight against the request, claiming it will reveal the figures in its own time. Prime Minister David Cameron has insisted the data “will be published and is being prepared for publication as we speak”.

Mrs Abrahams said: “I am appalled that the Department for Work and Pensions is seeking once again to avoid scrutiny. It is clearly in the public interest for people to know the facts about the number of deaths there have been following assessments, and for the Department’s appeal to say otherwise is simply wrong.”

A document, leaked to the Mirror Online, shows officials want to release “standardised” figures which won’t show the actual number of deaths. “Age Standardised Mortality Rates” will offer a ratio of deaths to the population as a whole.

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