Thousands die shortly after being deemed fit to work, figures show

Credit: PA

Thousands of people have died shortly after being declared fit to work by the Government, new figures reveal.

According to statistics from the Department for Work and Pensions, 2,380 people died between December 2011 and February 2014 after losing their benefits.

The Government said there is no link between claimants being deemed fit to work and their deaths.

The information was made public in response to a Freedom of Information request and only once the Information Commissioner's Office ruled the figures should be released.

Following their publication, there have been calls for further investigation into the statistics.

Labour leadership candidate Andy Burnham said an "urgent national debate" was needed.

"It raises serious questions about this Government's punitive approach to people on benefits," said Mr Burnham.

A DWP spokesman said: "The mortality rate for people who have died while claiming an out-of-work benefit has fallen over a 10-year period. This is in line with the mortality rate for the general working-age population.

"The Government continues to support millions of people on benefits with an £80 billion working-age welfare safety net in place."