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Oldham East and Saddleworth MP, Debbie Abrahams, has publicly lambasted the secretary of state for work and pensions, Iain Duncan Smith, at a Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) Select Committee (5/11/14) for denying that the inappropriate use of sanctions against social security claimants is harming, and even contributing to the deaths, of vulnerable people.

The verbal exchange began when Abrahams asked the minister about the huge number of people who leave Job Seeker’s Allowance after being sanctioned and simply disappear from official records, saying: “It is worrying though, isn't it, with the levels of sanctions that we are seeing, hundreds of thousands of people have had their benefits stopped for a minimum of four weeks and then approximately a quarter of these people, from the research that I've seen, are disappearing.

“They are leaving and we don’t know where they are going. That’s an absolute indictment of this policy and it’s a little bit worrying if we’re trying to tout this internationally as a real success story.”

Mr Duncan Smith responded: “Well I don’t agree with any of that. I actually believe the sanctions regime as applied is fair, we always get the odd case of …”

Abrahams interrupted saying: “People are dying because of these sanctions!”

Mr Duncan Smith continued: “No I don’t agree with that. I think the reality is that the sanctions regime, as a part of this system, we give a huge amount of support to all those who are at the job centre. Job centre staff do not set out to sanction somebody just off the top of their head. They have to have pretty strong evidence and a belief that that individual is not co-operating for various reasons.”

After the session Abrahams said: “It’s incredible that the minister can simply brush aside the mounting evidence that inappropriate use of social security sanctions is having on vulnerable people.

“Many organisations, from foodbanks to church groups and charities, have been imploring the Coalition Government to acknowledge that the new regime, introduced in October 2012, has created a sharp increase in the use of sanctions and has been incredibly damaging.

“We’ve already heard from a whistleblower who left his job as a JCP advisor because he refused to apply sanctions when people had done nothing wrong. And recently, over 200,000 people have signed a petition to look into the death of an ex-soldier and diabetic, from Stevenage, who died after having been sanctioned.

“He was found dead surrounded by job applications, penniless and with an empty stomach according to his post mortem. He couldn’t even afford to run his fridge so couldn’t keep his medicines cold.

“This man was called David Clapson.

“He was not a scrounger. He was a vulnerable man who had served his country and was unfairly sanctioned under a social security regime sanctioned by this Tory government and propped up by the Liberal Democrats.”


#7 myfindhorn 2014-11-20 18:34
IDS is the most inhuman being in Westminster, this man walks forward and leaves behind pain , destruction and despair, he is arrogant and thinks he is above everyone, so my message to him is, one day you will realise that like everyone else you are dying but how you die makes a difference, many people will die in pain, some with neglect and some with shock of realizing all that they have accumulated in this life, money is the one thing you can't take with you. For all the people that have lead a good compassionate life and for those that helped others, you can all die in peace when your time comes and as for IDS you will never know peace for what you have done and for all you do in the future , who will you turn to for help Mr bully boy, for you have no real friends among decent people.
#6 Villafc 2014-11-20 15:59
this wont go away unless this party is ousted out of parliment,ids can sit back on his wifes earnings ans say sod the lot of them.
+4 #5 Paul Richards 2014-11-07 21:07
Hi Drizzle,
You've indeed made some very good points there!
Miliband may be too afraid at the moment to speak out and yes, Labour has promised to look again at the WCA & to scrap the hated bedroom tax. If they do get in, let's hope that they reverse a lot of this welfare reform.

Bill - I agree entirely - we have seen too much of these 'Select Committees' suggesting this, that and the other, but they do not seem to have any 'teeth' to change things - (like the United Nations!) it seems that they can only advise.
And as you and angela also rightly says - until IDS is PROPERLY confronted over all of his myriad of unfair undoings, then he is going to continue. He thinks that HE is right and EVERYONE else is wrong. I am sure that he has something over the Government & that is why he is still in his overpaid ivory tower of Ministership!
He has claimants blood on his hands.
What a deluded and very arrogant bas***d and the sooner he is gone the better.
#4 Drizzle 2014-11-07 16:17
Quoting Paul Richards:
I wouldn't have thought that Ed Miliband is going to be publicly speaking out against it all any time soon!

Debbie Abrahams is a Labour MP and I think it's very likely she has the backing of her party.

Ed Miliband is in a really tight spot with regards to benefits. He knows that speaking out against the harsh Tory regime will lose him far more votes than it wins in the current climate of hate against benefit recipients. That doesn't mean that he isn't outraged about what's going on. Labour have promised to look again at the WCA and get rid of the bedroom tax, and that's a good start.

The reality for us is that life will be a hell of a lot worse under a Tory government even if Labour won't change a thing. The Tories are definitely going to make many more changes that will destroy many more poor and vulnerable people's lives.
#3 Bill 2014-11-07 16:03
How many more times will we all read about how outraged these MPs and Committee Members are before some action is taken?

IDS simply waves these outraged people away and thats the last we hear of it until the next set out outraged people arrive on the scene and once again IDS simply says he doesnt agree and we hear no more once again.

Are all these so called outraged characters simply wanting 15 minutes of fame or will one of them grow a pair and take their argument all the way and FORCE Duncan Smith to face facts?

Outrage, outrage, outrage, thats all we read, WHAT ABOUT SOME BLOODY ACTION and a little less outrage..... any chance???
+2 #2 angela 2014-11-07 15:37
I,ve already said before you can throw all the evidence you want at IDS and this rat will never admit he is wrong
-2 #1 Paul Richards 2014-11-07 14:14
I wouldn't have thought that Ed Miliband is going to be publicly speaking out against it all any time soon!

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