Jeremy Corbyn is calling for the resignation of Iain Duncan Smith after the government finally revealed the shocking death figures in benefit claimants being declared “fit for work.” The current reports show that between December 2011 and February 2014, 4,010 people died after being declared they were fit to work. This would mean their benefits would stop.
While the majority of the claimants were on Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), a large number of them were on Incapacity Benefit and Severe Disability Benefit. The Huffington Post reports that 3,720 were on ESA. The figures also show that 1,360 people appealed the decisions against them before they died.
The Conservative Government in the United Kingdom has faced a large amount of criticism for the way the assessment takes place. The Labour Party wants to see reforms to the process to make sure innocent people who genuinely cannot work are not affected negatively.
Corbyn does not believe that the Work and Pensions Secretary is fit for the job. He claims that the figures are shocking, and he sees people affected in his own London constituency.
Frances O’Grady, the TUC General Secretary, says that an urgent enquiry into the current figures is needed. Everyone should be concerned that “80 people are dying each month shortly after being declared ‘fit for work.'”
When talking to The Daily Mirror, Corbyn made it very clear that he does not believe Smith should have ever been appointed the position. Unfortunately, he went on to say that the numbers were not new, either. There are people with physical and mental disabilities affected, and people have taken their own lives in the past. That does not make the assessment right. He believes it makes the figures “disturbing.”
Jeremy Corbyn is joined by a number of others calling for the Work and Pensions Secretary’s resignation. Recently, there were calls after it emerged the Department of Work and Pensions faked a number of “testimonials” about how the benefit cap and sanctions have actually helped individuals.
Smith did attempt to avoid the release of the figures. He told the Government that they did not exist, but a campaign by the mirror and a petition signed by 250,000 people led to the Government watchdog to demand the release. The Labour Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary, Kelly Green, says that the delay is a “disgrace.”
Andy Burnham, another Labour leadership candidate, says that the figures require a national debate. If elected Labour leader, he would call for a full-day debate in Parliament. While he did not comment on Iain Duncan Smith’s resignation need, it is one of the first times he has agreed with Jeremy Corbyn about issues.
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