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PM faces call for inquiry into ‘avoidable deaths’ linked to welfare ‘failures’

SNP Neil Gray (Airdrie & Shotts) raised the issue during Prime Minister’s Questions.

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Neil Gray (Chris McAndrew / UK Parliament/PA)

Neil Gray (Chris McAndrew / UK Parliament/PA)

Neil Gray (Chris McAndrew / UK Parliament/PA)

The Prime Minister is facing fresh calls, backed by a group of mental health organisations, to instruct an inquiry into “avoidable deaths linked to failures in the UK social security system”.

SNP Neil Gray (Airdrie & Shotts) raised the issue during Prime Minister’s Questions as he asked when Boris Johnson will press ahead with such an inquiry to “listen to those families and the experts in this case”.

Responding, Mr Johnson acknowledged that “there are indeed some very hard cases and some very tragic outcomes”.

Work and Pensions Secretary Therese Coffey, he added, “is indeed looking at that”.

Speaking in the Commons, Mr Gray said: “This morning, a range of expert mental health organisations, including the Royal College of Psychiatrists, Mind and Rethink Mental (Illness) have called for an urgent inquiry into avoidable deaths linked to failures in the UK social security system.

“A family in my constituency lost their father and husband to suicide in these similar circumstances and they, like too many others, want answers.

“So when will the Prime Minister instruct such an inquiry to listen to those families and the experts in this case?”

Mr Johnson replied: “There are indeed some very hard cases and some very tragic outcomes, and I know that … the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions is indeed looking at that and very, very happy to work with (him) to make sure that (in) such tragic cases, the families’ needs are met.”

PA