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Vigil held for man who died after he was ruled fit for work

by Clair Glasman
and Felicity Collier

A VIGIL has been held for a man who suffered a fatal heart attack minutes after being found “fit for work” by jobcentre staff.

Lawrence Bond reportedly collapsed outside Kentish Town jobcentre on January 12. He had suffered from long-term health problems including difficulty with mobility and breathing.

The vigil, held outside the jobcentre on Wednesday, was organised by Kilburn Unemployed Workers’ Group and women’s disability campaign group WinVisible.

People from the local community paid their respects to Mr Bond who they said was known and loved locally. They also paid tribute to his bereaved family and friends.

Iris Green, Mr Bond’s sister, described how he had got no help during his ill health.

The doctor ordered him not to work but she said this was ignored for the work capability assessment.

Ms Green was joined by her brother’s friends, as well as by The All African Women’s Group and other bereaved relatives who have lost loved ones in similar circumstances.

Campaigner Selma James said: “The death of Mr Bond and others like him are not ‘failings’ or ‘mistakes’ but deliberate policies whose deadly outcomes have been carefully assessed.

“We must stay together and defend each other as we are doing today to defeat this murderous government.”

The crowd displayed banners and placards, and vented their fury at the inhumane policies.

One banner listed the names of about 90 people who died after they were denied welfare benefits. Each name was read to honour the lives lost.

Shadow chancellor John McDonnell, who has worked with disability rights groups against the work capability assessment since 2006, said a future Labour government would axe the cruel assessments.

Shadow work and pensions minister Debbie Abrahams and film director Ken Loach also attended the vigil.

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