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Call for probe into ‘early DWP deaths’

LABOUR MP Debbie Abrahams has warned of “growing evidence” that sick and disabled people in receipt of benefits have died prematurely.

The former shadow work and pensions secretary called yesterday for an independent review to find out whether government “incompetence and cover-up” has left vulnerable claimants unprotected.

She said that the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) should not be “marking its own homework” after it decided not to retain reviews linked to deaths and suicides of benefits claimants.

The work and pensions committee member said: “Nothing more than a fully independent review into social security claimants’ deaths will do.

“Others need to decide whether government incompetence or a cover-up has failed to protect vulnerable claimants.

“They also need to examine which factors in the social security system are associated with an increased prevalence of these deaths and the additional health risk that they pose.”

A DWP spokeswoman said: “We take these issues extremely seriously and ensure cases are investigated and any lessons learnt.”

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