A bitter row has broken out concerning 36-year-old Will Protheroe from Wimborne, who has been declared fit for work by the DWP despite having been in a vegetative state for six years. Three months ago he received a letter asking that he present himself at the local assessment centre for a medical examination.
His wife Julie called the DWP and explained her husband’s ongoing condition then thought no more about it until his payments suddenly stopped without warning. When she queried this she was told he had been sanctioned, with his benefits disallowed for not turning up at the appointment.
Appearing on GMB, former Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith said: ‘Look, I’m proud of the reforms that I helped to bring in. People scrounging off the system claiming for benefits that they’re not entitled to has been costing us millions every year and it’s vital that we stop it.’
‘I can’t comment on this specific case except to say Mr Protheroe said he was ill, so if he really was and he had actually bothered to attended his appointment then he wouldn’t be in this position now. I don’t wish to be seen as being uncaring here… but you know… hasn’t he only got himself to blame?’
Another of Duncan Smith’s successors, Esther McVey, agreed. ‘Perhaps if Mr Protheroe is able to blink then couldn’t he do that thing were he’s hooked up to a computer, a bit like Stephen Hawking used to be,’ she said. ‘The computer could be interfaced with some kind of switching device, say to perform a menial factory job? I mean just think how much he’d feel better about himself if gainfully employed instead of living off benefits.’