MP Debbie Abrahams has helped secure an inquiry into benefit sanctions, following a campaign backed by the Daily Mirror who report:- ‘The Inquiry has been triggered by Labour MP Debbie Abrahams, who called on the Work and Pensions Select Committee to investigate after the Government refused an inquiry.
The move follows a 200,000-strong petition set up by Gill Thompson in July following the death of her diabetic brother David Clapson at the age of 59. David, a former soldier who served in Northern Ireland, died destitute after being sanctioned by the Job Centre for missing a single meeting.
Abrahams said she had been inspired by Gill’s bravery to keep fighting for an investigation. “Gill has shown great courage, in the wake of her brother’s appalling death, to take on this cruel government and their inhuman policy of targeting vulnerable people who are reliant on social security,” Abrahams, MP for Oldham East and Saddleworth, said.
“The huge response to the Mirror’s reporting on how claimants are being stitched up and sanctioned, and over 200,000 signatures on Gill’s petition, is proof that the British people will not stand by and do nothing when they see vulnerable people suffering.”
Last night Gill said she was hoping to be called to give evidence. “This has been a huge battle, but it isn’t just for my David who died penniless, it’s for all the people who have been sanctioned and who have written to me telling their stories,” she said last night. “It’s an absolute scandal.”
Organisations including the Trussell Trust have repeatedly linked the sanctions regime to the soaring number of people going to foodbanks.
“Ministers in the DWP have used every trick in the book to avoid being held to account,” Abrahams said. “This inquiry will leave them nowhere to hide and that’s why they’ve fought so hard to avoid one.”
For updates on the campaign started by Gill Thompson or to sign the petition, visit change.org/benefitsanctions