Benefit cuts 'drove mentally ill man to suicide', sister claims

Paul Donnachie's body was discovered by bailiffs who arrived to evict him

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The Independent Online

A mentally ill man who committed suicide after his benefits were stopped was "murdered" by the Government, his sister has said.   

Paul Donnachie’s disability benefit was ended in June 2015 after he missed four work capability assessments by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).

The DWP then informed Glasgow City Council that Mr Donnachie was capable of working, and that his housing and council tax benefits should also be stopped.

The welfare cuts were backdated, so by the time the 50-year-old was informed, he was already in arrears with rent and council tax.

His body was found in his Glasgow flat in January by bailiffs arriving to evict him, but he is thought to have killed himself two months earlier. He had severe mental health problems.

“The Government murdered him," said Mr Donnachie’s sister Eleanor, who is calling for an inquiry into his death.

“They are driving ordinary people to suicide.”

“It says it all that they only discovered he was dead when they came to evict him”, she told The Daily Record.

“The Conservative Government aren’t living in the real world and have no idea how people live. They don’t care about working-class people and the vulnerable.

“Innocent people’s lives are being put at risk and those in Westminster are pushing people like Paul to take their own lives.”

Mr Donnachie’s application for a Scottish Welfare Crisis Grant in September to pay for his gas, electricity and food failed, and he was told to go to a food bank instead.

Duncan Smith on benefits

A study by the universities of Oxford and Liverpool has linked the DWP’s tougher work capability tests to 590 additional suicides between 2010 and 2013.

“Suicide is a tragic and complex issue, so to link a death to someone’s benefit claim is misleading”, DWP spokesperson told The Independent.

“We are fully committed to ensuring that people who are too sick to work get the support they need.”