Iain Duncan Smith has moved to deflect criticism away from the government’s controversial Work Capability Assessment by offering it to ESA claimants as an assisted dying programme.
The work and pensions secretary insisted a recent study that linked tougher ‘Fit for Work’ tests to suicides highlights his commitment to reducing unemployment.
“The crucial factor that mustn’t be overlooked is that participants in welfare-to-work or sanctions-to-suicide schemes aren’t included in the unemployment figures,” he explained.
“As the number of people not included goes up, unemployment comes down.”
A Downing Street spokesperson insisted that the prime minister sees the potential in all benefit claimants and denied he was trying to kill them off.
“It’s wrong to suggest that people on benefits don’t give anything back,” he said.
“You only have to look at the huge contribution they’ve made to Channel 5 and Channel 4’s TV schedules.”
36-year-old ESA claimant John Jenkins revealed his disappointment at the DWP’s proposal.
“When the government said they wanted to help me off benefits I had rather hoped it would be into something more rewarding than a crematorium incinerator.
“I can contribute much more to the planet than greenhouse gases.”