20 July 2021
What: A new green paper, Shaping Future Support, suggests ministers are considering measures to cut future spending on disability benefits, and the possibility of merging personal independence payment with universal credit, but there is no mention of the deaths of disabled claimants that have been linked to DWP’s actions and failings. Instead, the green paper refers to some claimants who “may feel afraid of having to use the benefits system”, to claimants who “sometimes struggle to apply for benefits and can find health assessments difficult”, and to how “a sizeable minority of people are not content” with the ESA and PIP systems. There is no mention of the coroner’s findings following the death of Philippa Day, even though the inquest took place just six months earlier, or the previous DWP safeguarding failures that led to the deaths of Roy Curtis, Errol Graham, Jodey Whiting, and many others. It also fails to mention the secret internal process reviews DWP has carried out following the deaths of claimants.
Why significant: The green paper will be followed by a white paper in 2022, which should detail the government’s plans for further reforms, including any measures on safeguarding. But its failure to even mention the deaths of claimants suggests it will not take the measures necessary to make the system fit for purpose, and safe.