Controversy has raged this week over Work and Pensions Secretary Esther McVey’s membership of the ‘advisory board’ of the Samaritans, an organisation that helps those feeling suicidal or otherwise in mental distress.
DWP policies have been linked to increased rates of attempted suicides among disabled people and other benefit claimants, with the NHS reporting that forty-three percent of disabled people – more than double the number just seven years earlier – have attempted suicide at some point in their lives.
Campaigners were outraged that Ms McVey was on the board at all and remained on it even after her reappointment to a DWP role.
Today, Samaritans posted a notice on the news section of its website stating that Ms McVey had stepped down because of the ‘commitments’ of her government role:
This will be considered a small victory for campaigners. However, their concerns about the appropriateness of the presence of a significant number of remaining advisory board members with close Tory links persist.
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