04/06/2016 - Tory benefit cuts will lead to increase in suicides

dyingTory welfare cuts will lead to an increase in suicides. That's the view of a prominent crossbench peer, Baroness Meacher. Baroness Meacher led the fight in the UK House of Lords against planned cuts to tax credits.

Speaking with Russia Today's Going Underground programme she warned that the number of people who take their own lives is likely to increase as cuts begin to bite.

She said: "They can't see a way out, and so what I anticipate is that there will be, over time as these cuts play themselves out, there will be an increase in the numbers of people who cannot go on and who take their lives.
"We will have an increase in suicide I think."

Baroness Meacher has previously called for statistics relating to the suicides of people facing benefit cuts to be published.

She said ministers need to think about how they will support vulnerable people who face a potential "horrible downward spiral".

"We do know that employment is good for people but what the Government doesn't take account of are all these people - the carers, the disabled and other groups - who cannot earn an adequate income for themselves, they can maybe only do 10 hours a week or whatever it is," she said.

"I think the Government has something they need to think about and need to answer.

"What are you going to do about these very vulnerable people, and there are lots of them.

"We now know that three and a half million people have been taken to court in one year for non-payment of rent and when they go to court they then get court costs added to their debt.

"You have this horrible downward spiral for these people who are anyway in trouble, quite likely either to be disabled or to have a disabled child."

A Department for Work and Pensions spokeswoman said: "Suicide is a tragic and complex issue and it is misleading to link it solely to a person's benefit claim."

Pat Harrington, general secretary of Solidarity, commented: "Read between the lines. Even the DWP propagandists don't claim that cutting someone's money and putting financial pressure on them doesn't contribute to factors leading to a suicide. They just say that it shouldn't be linked to one factor. That's true but piling money worries on top of someone who may already be somewhat depressed certainly isn't going to help. That's just commonsense. These cuts could, literally, be a life and death issue."