Theresa May announced yesterday the appointment of Health Minister Jackie Doyle-Price to a new role of minister for suicide prevention.
Sadly the new minister’s voting record has consistently had her voting for welfare cuts for the most vulnerable, such as voting to reduce housing benefit; against raising benefits in line with inflation, and against more welfare for people unable to work due to illness.
And Theresa May looked rattled when SNP MP Ian Blackford congratulated her on the appointment of a minister for suicide prevention, but then began to quiz her yesterday about a welfare policy that her government was warned is leading to suicide attempts.
“Does the Prime Minister agree with me that we must all work to eradicate policies and circumstances that lead people to believe that suicide is their only option?” asked the MP for Ross, Skye and Lochaber.
“We must do everything we can to ensure that people are prevented from committing suicide and that support is given to people in those circumstances,” Theresa May agreed.
But the Prime Minister and Esther McVey, Secretary of State for Work and Pensions behind her both looked flustered when Blackford told Parliament how they had been “repeatedly warned” that Workplace Capability Assessments were making half the women subjected to them suicidal.
“Nearly one in every two women taking part in the UK Government’s work capability assessment say they have attempted suicide after or during the process. A series of secret internal inquiries reveal that Conservative Ministers were repeatedly warned of the policy’s shortcomings,” revealed the MP, asking:
“Will the Prime Minister commit today to ensuring that her new Minister for Suicide Prevention looks at the impact of her Government’s own social security policies and at long last scraps the appalling work capability assessment?”
But Theresa May showed no signs of apologising for the suffering that the hated assessments have caused.
An analysis of NHS data from 2007 to 2014 revealed that out of work disabled welfare claimants have seen their suicide rates double since the hated assessments were brought in by the last Labour government and used as part of the Tories’ welfare cuts.
Nearly half said that they had attempted to take their own lives.