Late September 2014
What: The new Conservative minister for disabled people, Mark Harper, insists that DWP is right to ignore reports of deaths linked to the loss or non-payment of disability benefits. Speaking to Disability News Service at the Conservative party conference in Birmingham, Harper says he does not “accept the premise” that DWP should collect and analyse reports that suggest a disabled person’s death could have been linked to the non-payment or withdrawal of benefits. He says: “If someone has [a] mental health [condition] and then something happens, trying to disaggregate what was the cause, I don’t think is as simple as you are trying to suggest.”
Why significant: By this stage, there have been two PFD reports, and the report of the Mental Welfare Commission for Scotland, yet Harper is still denying DWP responsibility in deaths.