590 people may have committed suicide due to disability benefit cuts. Meanwhile, David Cameron is getting his own plane

Thursday 19 November 2015 12:10
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A statistical analysis by university academics has found that government cuts to disability benefit appear to have driven 590 people in England to suicide.

The analysis also found that the efforts to reduce the number of people claiming disability benefit led to more than 7,000 additional prescriptions for antidepressants per 10,000 people, as well as 2,700 cases of reported mental health problems.

The analysis, published in the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health, looked at mental health indicators and other factors in 149 local authorities between 2010 and 2013.

Ben Barr, the team leader at the University of Liverpool, said:

It’s likely the uncertainty affected the health of even those who were allowed to retain disability benefits.

The study concluded:

This policy may have had serious adverse consequences for mental health in England, which could outweigh any benefits that arise from moving people off disability benefits.

MEANWHILE

Prime minister David Cameron and senior ministers will receive their own airplane for official trips.

An RAF Voyager A330 (one of which is pictured below) air-to-air refuelling plane is to be refitted, costing approximately £10m, 20 times less than Air Force One costs the United States.

(Picture: Airwolfhound/Flickr)

The government argues that the move will save approximately £775,000 a year compared to the current policy of chartering flights.

A government spokesperson said:

As part of the government's defence review, we have been looking at ways to make better use of the RAF fleet to transport senior ministers and consequently deliver savings for taxpayers.

We have decided to adapt one of our existing Voyager aircraft so that, in addition to its primary air tanking role, it can transport ministers and it will also be available for the royal family to use.

The British prime minister is the only leader of a G20 nation who does not have an aircraft.

The announcement comes a week before the spending review into government departments. George Osborne has so far reached agreements with 11 departments to cut on average 24 per cent over the next four years, totalling £4bn of savings by 2019/2020.

More: Sixteen of the most senseless benefit sanction decisions known to man

More: Interactive timeline: What the Tory government has been up to, 6 months after the election

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