Four opposition parties have called for a public enquiry into benefits-related deaths, but the Labour party is not one of them.
The letter to the new secretary of state for work and pensions, Chloe Smith, appeared on the Rethink website earlier this month.
It points out that there has been an almost threefold increase in the number of Internal Process Reviews being conducted by the department into death or serious harm in recent years.
But the authors say that they believe that many more cases are being missed.
In particular, they point out that there is only an average of one inquiry a month into serious harm, rather than death. This represents 21% of all inquiries. Yet it is likely, the letter points out, that “Far more people experience mental health crisis, self-harm or suicide attempts than die by suicide”.
The letter calls for a public inquiry and, in the meantime, “to make investigations into these serious incidents more effective, transparent and accountable.”
The letter is signed by:
- Kirsty Blackman MP, Work and Pensions Spokesperson, Scottish National Party
- Wendy Chamberlain, Work and Pensions Spokesperson, Liberal Democrats
- Hywel Williams, Work and Pensions Spokesperson, Plaid Cymru
- Caroline Lucas MP, Green Party
There is no signatory from the Labour Party.
You can read the full letter here.