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‘Staggering’ ESA suicide figures prompt calls for inquiry and prosecution of ministers

This is a real indictment of the callous way the government has treated those in most need.

Govt Newspeak

“Staggering” new figures show that the proportion of people claiming the main out-of-work disability benefit who have attempted suicide doubled between 2007 and 2014.

The new analysis of NHS statistics, being published for the first time by Disability News Service (DNS), shows that in 2007 – a year before the introduction of the much-criticised work capability assessment (WCA) – 21 per cent of incapacity benefit (IB) claimants told researchers they had attempted suicide at some point in their lives.

The following year, IB began to be replaced by employment and support allowance (ESA), with eligibility tested by the WCA, under the New Labour government.

But by 2014, following four years of social security reforms under the new coalition government, and austerity-related cuts to disability benefits and services – and six years of the WCA – more than 43 per cent of claimants were saying they had attempted suicide.

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