The National Audit Office announced last week that it is to investigate how the DWP monitors suicide by claimants, after ministers refused to release figures.

Frank Field, chair of the work and pensions committee, asked ministers for details of any data they held on suicide by claimants, but was met with a wall of silence.

Field wrote: “I struggle to believe that, given the time it must take to put together evidence for inquests, attend court hearings, and internally review the decisions, that there is no record of such.

“It shocks me even more that the DWP is apparently unconcerned with the most drastic efforts of its policies and conducts no internal monitoring of the tragedies in which it is complicit.”

The NAO have said that they will ask the government to reveal any information they hold on the issue and that they will consider trying to create the data themselves if the DWP continue to refuse.

The level of attempted suicide amongst disabled claimants who are unable to work is believed to have more than doubled since the introduction of employment and support allowance and the work capability assessment in 2008.

A survey of data collected by the NHS in 2007 and again in 2014 showed that the percentage of claimants who had tried to take their own life was 21% in 2007, compared with 6% of the general population.

In 2014 this had leapt to 43%, compared to 7% of the general population.

You can read more on this story in the Independent.


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