13 October 2015
What: During the public bill committee stage of the welfare reform and work bill, DWP minister Priti Patel is asked by Labour’s Naz Shah if she believes the number of claimants who have taken their own lives after sanctions have affected their mental health is acceptable. Patel denies any causal link, telling her: “The point is that people should be assessed for what they can do; it should not be about what they cannot do. Where people have particular health conditions, it is right that we as a society support them either to get back to work or to get the treatment that they need. On her latter point, there is no causal effect at all.”
Why significant: Part of persistent government narrative that denies a causal link between government legislation, policy and practice, and benefit deaths.