Case Of David Clapson Sparks Calls For National Inquiry
Some have asked if this would have happened if David Clapson had not been a former soldier.
I, however, see this as a very small piece of progress. I’m always grateful for progress, whatever the reasons for it.
The case of a diabetic former soldier from Stevenage, who died after his benefits were sanctioned, has led to calls for a national review.
Last week, the Advertiser told the story of David Clapson, who could not afford electricity to keep his insulin cool after his jobseeker’s allowance of approximately £70 a week was suspended on June 28 last year.
Just three weeks later – on July 20 – he died aged 59 at his home in Hillside from fatal diabetic keto-acidosis, which the NHS calls “a dangerous complication of diabetes caused by a lack of insulin.”
Talking to the Advertiser, leader of Stevenage Council Cllr Sharon Taylor said the case was “the most tragic story I have heard in 18 years of being a councillor.”
She also revealed that she had forwarded letters about the case, sent between David’s sister Gill and the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), to Dame Anne Begg.
In one letter, the DWP – which administers jobseeker’s allowance – said it was “confident that the correct procedures were followed for the administration of benefit.”
Dame Begg is the chair of the work and pensions select committee, which examines DWP expenditure, administration and policy.
Following our exclusive coverage of the story last week, The Mirror carried the case on its front page on Monday.
Talking to the Mirror, MP Debbie Abrahams – a member of the work and pensions select committee – said “For this poor man to die in such a disgraceful way is a scandal.
“But it is sadly not a surprise to hear that the sanctions regime has cost another life.”
She also said that she had pushed for an independent inquiry into sanctions, but the government had published only a limited inquiry on the last day before its summer recess, preventing discussion.
“If Iain Duncan Smith and Esther McVey have nothing to hide, they should not fear a focused, independent inquiry,” she added.
Cllr Taylor said: “I want the DWP to carry out an inquiry into how they get vulnerable people in touch with local organisations that can help them. We need a review of that at the national level.”
David’s sister, Gill, told the Advertiser: “You have made a huge difference. You helped me get there because your story started it when it was shared by Sharon Taylor.
“I just want them to have a look at their procedures.”