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DWP Blacklists Disabled Journalist Over His Research Into Impact Of Welfare Reforms

September 25, 2015

 

From today’s National.

DISABLED journalist John Pring, who uncovered the first suicide case directly linked to the UK Government’s welfare cuts this week, has been blacklisted by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) over his in-depth investigations.

The editor of Disability News Service (DNS), launched in April 2009 to probe issues that affect the lives of disabled people, says the DWP has stopped answering any of his questions.

The news service focuses on issues such as discrimination, equality, independent living, benefits, poverty and human rights, but also covers arts, culture and sport.

Pring worked for months gathering evidence to back up his story that, for the first time, a coroner had blamed the death of mentally disabled Michael O’Sullivan on his recent work capability assessments.

He managed to get hands on coroner Mary Hassell’s determination into his suicide, her Prevention of Future Deaths report sent to the DWP calling for action to be taken, as well as the DWP’s response.

Hassell found that the “trigger” for the suicide was “his recent assessment by a DWP doctor as being fit for work”.

The coroner’s verdict stated: “The anxiety and depression were long-term problems, but the intense anxiety that triggered his suicide was caused by his recent assessment by the DWP as being fit for work, and his view of the likely consequences of that.”

Scottish disability rights campaigners at the Black Triangle, who hope Pring’s revelations will be a turning point in the fight against the welfare cuts, said numerous disability groups rely on the Disability News Service to keep them informed and by refusing to communicate with Pring, the DWP was refusing to communicate with millions of disabled people.

Campaign manager John McArdle said: “John Pring has done more than any other journalist to expose the scandal of these deaths and hold the DWP to account.

“The actions of the DWP are counter to transparent government and freedom of the press, upon which a functioning democracy rely. We consider the actions of the DWP to be highly offensive and discriminatory.”

The DWP’s press office ceased to deal with DNS and says it will no longer respond to it as a bona fide news organisation.

When Pring asked for a comment on the news that the Information Commissioner in England was to probe the DWP’s refusal to publish details of internal reviews of benefit-related deaths, a civil servant told him he would not get one.

Their refusal to communicate with him appears to have been triggered by stories published by DNS that left out comments from the Government. Pring says this is because press officers missed deadlines, the DWP says he should publish corrections.

Pring has relentlessly highlighted problems with Work and Pensions minister Iain Duncan Smith’s flagship Universal Credit programme and revealed that the DWP had secretly investigated more than 60 deaths of benefit claimants since 2012, without publishing the findings or the more than 30 resulting recommendations for change.

The DNS has also embarrassed disability minister Mark Harper, running stories about the lack of wheelchair access at some disability assessment centres, as well as at his own constituency office, as Harper was presenting awards for accessibility.

Same Difference wishes to repeat our full support of John Pring in this matter.

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8 Comments leave one →
  1. September 25, 2015 11:41 am

    Reblogged this on perfectlyfadeddelusions.

  2. September 25, 2015 12:41 pm

    This is ‘OUTFCUKINGRAGEOUS’!!! On every level!! Why aren’t the ‘Press & the Media’ reporting this… I know why, because the press & media are as ‘CORRUPT’ as the CONservatives… Who want us all to live in the 17th Century.. While the hollo vessels fill the ‘Bank Accounts’..!!! 100,000 Children made ‘Homeless’ as a ‘Direct Result of this Governments Policies Since 2010…. Yours Extremely Angry from Rainhill…

  3. September 25, 2015 2:34 pm

    I would think this was par for the course from a conservative leader and if John Pring were to continue he would probably end up dead like the sick and disabled he’s trying to help

    i can assure everyone to this blog in dealing with IDS you will fail i know him well enough that he will continue down the path of death for those that lack support and even with support he will still persecute you via the DWP that you can be assure of

    thousands of sick and disabled people have died at this time over the past 5 years and only the public could bring about a halt to further deaths taking place by marching 1 million strong through London and even then you would still fail at the first attempt

    you would need to do it every month for at least a year to be successful

    the next prime minister is to be George Osborne and by 2020 the country will be in good financial shape as those are the plans he is working to and under no circumstance will he derail the austerity plans that he has put in place of that you can be assured of

  4. September 25, 2015 8:49 pm

    Reblogged this on Benefit tales.

  5. September 26, 2015 7:00 am

    Reblogged this on Citizens, not serfs.

  6. September 26, 2015 10:52 am

    Reblogged this on delboydave and commented:
    More government skulduggery and deceit

  7. September 26, 2015 10:53 am

    reblogged on delboydave

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