Fears for ‘clearly ill’ people being assessed as fit for work

Angus Robertson -
Angus Robertson – met constituents who are ‘clearly ill’ but being assessed as fit for work

CLEARLY ILL PEOPLE in Moray are being assessed as being fit for work by Department of Work and Pensions assessments.

That is the view of Moray’s MP Angus Robertson who is highlighting the plight of constituents in Moray and people throughout the country suffering because of the assessments.

Mr Robertson pointed to comments this week by the family of Angela Smith, who took her own life in September at a time when she feared being reassessed. Angela’s father, Donald Smith, said she was “a victim of this government’s repressive measures against disabled people”.

Raising the issue at Prime Ministers Questions, the Moray MP said the findings of a recent investigation are the latest in a series of revelations about the devastating impact of the Work Capability Assessment.

He said: “Sadly, we have heard of many cases similar to that of Angela and of concerns being raised by doctors and those working for front line organisations but these just seem to fall on the deaf ears of the Tories.

“I have personally met people at surgeries here in Moray who are clearly ill but who are judged ‘Fit to Work’ under the DWP assessments.

“In these circumstances where people have a significant physical or mental illness or disability it is extremely distressing to have vital financial support threatened and removed.

“This week a study from Oxford and Liverpool Universities linked 590 suicides to Work Capability Assessments which proves just how devastating these interviews and the threat of vital benefits being sanctioned are for individuals.”

Adding that the UK Government “can no longer hid behind excuses” and pretending that there is no evidence of a link between the tests and mental ill-health, Mr Robertson said: “Twice I have asked the Prime Minister why reports into the suicide of Michael O’Sullivan and others have not been published by the DWP and twice there have been no answers.

“A new investigation also revealed that Work and Pensions Secretary Ian Duncan Smith failed to pass on a coroner’s legal letter about the death of Stephen Carré, who was subjected to a work capability assessment and took his own life in 2010.

“The Tories cannot ignore the damage that their policies are doing any longer – an urgent review of the Work Capability Assessment is needed so that lessons can be learnt from the mistakes already made and to ensure that there are no more tragic deaths and no more needless distress and suffering for people as a result of these tests.”