Permission has been granted to copy this letter here, that was originally posted on Twitter.


July 10th Parliamentary debate: Cumulative Impact Assessment (‘The effect of Government Policies on Disabled People’)

3:36 PM (1 minute ago)


Rt Hon Mr. Liam Byrne, MP
Shadow Secretary of State for Work and Pensions
House of Commons
London, England

Dear Mr. Byrne,

I am a 56-year-old Disability Studies specialist from Montreal, Canada who has been reporting frequently and voluntarily, since January 2012, to senior United Nations officials (see attached) on the crisis for the United Kingdom’s sick and disabled. Austerity measures, consisting of draconian welfare reforms and “sham” means-testing (Atos Healthcare U.K. and the Department for Work and Pensions) are ostensibly to blame for their plight—with disability hate crime and inflammatory media attacks factored into this mix.

I am writing you regarding this Wednesday’s Parliamentary debate on the effect of government policies on disabled people (, and in your capacity as Shadow Secretary of State for Work and Pensions.

It is vital that such a cumulative impact assessment include a thorough and proper investigation of the number of sick and disabled benefit claimants who died, committed suicide, or became destitute as a result of the draconian austerity measures and welfare reforms.

I am currently experiencing difficulty procuring post-November 2011 benefit claimant mortality statistics from the Department for Work and Pensions.

Please see DWP refuses to provide information on ESA/IB deaths. What is it hiding?, Atos deaths: A letter to Mr… Smith, Requesting that the DWP hire an epidemiologist and consult with David Stuckler of Oxford University; and related: My Latest Letter To DWP Ministers; How many people have died between being rejected for ESA and their appeal, and how many people have actually committed suicide?”

Is it possible for you to persuade the DWP to be more cooperative and transparent in this matter? Is there a DWP oversight committee?

My following blog pieces might be of interest:
Atos Assessment Appointment Room Wait Causes Claimant Unbearable Suffering

(Please note that his ordeal took place this past week. I am extremely concerned that ATOS healthcare U.K. is rejecting requests for home assessments even if a claimant’s GP supports one. Moreover, Atos is overbooking assessment appointments, causing claimants to suffer through interminable waits, with some sent home without being assessed).

My Letter To U.K.’s Joint Committee On Human Rights

(Please note: I also believe there is a significant risk that requiring benefit claimants to wait seven days before they can sign on for help, and forcing some claimants to survive a month without income will result in their destitution, such as would amount to inhuman or degrading treatment contrary to Article 3 of the ECHR. Please note this passage from

Official data suggests the average wait for benefit claims to be processed is 16 days, though food banks report that in some areas claimants can wait for up to 25 days. Adding another seven days to that period would mean some claimants trying to survive a month without an income.

Needless to say, I am displeased with Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, David Freud, who has denied that there is a link between the rise in food banks and delays or sanctions in benefits (see

RE: Will the Joint Committee on Human Rights legislatively scrutinize HM Treasury’s Spending Round 2013?

(Which human rights body in the UK has the responsibility to warn of possible human rights infringement?)
The Jobcentre Sanctions Scandal In Britain: With Limited Access To Food Banks, Destitution Is A High Risk For Hundreds of Thousands

Pushed Over The edge By Benefits Fear

Iain Duncan Smith doesn’t give a damn about the rights of sick and disabled people

(Bedroom Tax minister Lord Freud has threatened councils if they reclassify homes. Yet I have written to work and pensions secretary Iain Duncan Smith on two occasions, requesting that disabled people living in specially adapted homes be exempted from eviction, due to rent arrears, as a result of the the spare room subsidy.)

By the way, have you seen this latest article? Iain Duncan Smith blasted for ignoring the warnings of an Atos whistle-blower who quit in protest at controversial welfare tests
(I have a correspondence with another Atos whistle-blower, Joyce Drummond: ).

Also of possible interest is a just-received FOI response (see attached) pertaining to the number and proportion of disabled people in relative and absolute poverty in the United Kingdom from 2010 to 2012.

In closing, will there be a binding Parliamentary vote on the matter of a cumulative impact assessment? I am convinced the government will not voluntarily agree to perform one since it will likely expose their flagrant violations of human rights.

Thanking you in advance for your reply, and wishing you every success with the debate!

Samuel Miller
Blog: Hephaestus: Disability Studies
Blog: My Disability Studies Blackboard
(Montreal, Canada)



H.E. Sir Mark Lyall Grant
Permanent Representative
UK Mission to the UN
One Dag Hammarskjold Plaza
885 Second Avenue
New York, NY 10017

Ms. Navanethem Pillay
Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR)
Palais Wilson
52 rue des Pâquis
CH-1201 Geneva, Switzerland

Jorge Araya
Secretary of the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
Groups in Focus Section
Human Rights Treaties Division
Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights
Tel: +41 22 917 9106
Fax: +41 22 917 9008

Ms.Magdalena Sepúlveda Carmona, Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights
Mr. Olivier De Schutter, Special Rapporteur on the right to food
Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR)
Palais Wilson
52 rue des Pâquis
CH-1201 Geneva, Switzerland.

Secretariat for the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
Department of Economic and Social Affairs
United Nations, S-2906
New York, NY 10017
United States of America