Employment and Support Allowance – Another Mean Cut From IDS – Sheila Gilmore | Politics and Insights

What if the initial assumptions were wrong, and that there are not lots of ‘fit’ people sidelined onto incapacity benefits. Three quarters of those being ‘migrated ‘ from IB are not fit for work. The proportion of new claimants being found fit for work has fallen to 23%, and has been steadily falling . In addition I suspect that a good number of those declared Fit for Work, are simply not getting better, not getting jobs, getting less well and end up reapplying for ESA and being awarded benefit the second time round.

If we accept that most claimants actually face significant barriers to returning to work, we need to be putting more effort into both giving them the help they need, and encouraging employers to take people on. This was what the Work Related Activity Group was intended to do, but for many the support offered is minimal . People are invited to ‘work focused interviews (in letters that contain severe warnings about the consequences of not attending) and are then sent away for a year in some cases. Box ticked but no help given. Some are referred to the Work Programme which has very poor outcomes for this group, not surprising given that those attending say that all the emphasis was on the mechanics of job search with little reference to their heath.

Taking away £30 pw of income won’t tackle these weaknesses of the system. Will there still be a Work Related Activity Group at all? The only difference from being on JSA will be less conditionality (although there is still some and examples of ESA-WRAG claimants being sanctioned).

Nor are we dealing here with people with minor illness. Charities report that 45% of people who put in a claim for ESA, and had Parkinson’s, Cystic Fibrosis, multiple sclerosis, or Rheumatoid Arthritis, were placed in the Work Related Activity Group (WRAG).

Source: Employment and Support Allowance – Another Mean Cut From IDS – Sheila Gilmore | Politics and Insights

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10 Thoughts to “Employment and Support Allowance – Another Mean Cut From IDS – Sheila Gilmore | Politics and Insights”

  1. Of course the “initial assumptions” were wrong!

    How could they not be utter nonsense, given that they were made by a former financial journalist and sometime “banker” who had swallowed the disability denial drivel from the corrupt American “Insurance” company UNUM? David Freud – for it was he – effectively turned the scientific method upside down,by starting with the conclusion he desired ad then juggled the data to try to get it to fit.

  2. Rearranging the letters of “Baron Freud of Eastry in the County of Kent” – to use his full, official title – gives various interesting anagrams.

    One such is: “Tory buffoon or sneaky Cnut if threatened”, though I’m sure there is a ruder anagram in there, somewhere.

    1. Mike Sivier

      I can’t quite see it…

  3. More and more cuts. Meanwhile yesterday it was announced that last year Facebook paid UNDER £4,500 Corporation Tax….yet another Tax Avoiding corporation, which is by far a greater expense for our economy than the benefits bill, the Tories aim at the wrong target EVERY SINGLE TIME!

  4. Bookworm

    Another point is that as the pension age is increasingly raised more and more claimants are going to be elderly with age related complaints including dementia. Previously they would’ve been on state pension but now if found “fit to work” will end up presumably on JSA and potentially affected by HB changes when Universal Credit takes over. No one appears to have foreseen this?

    1. @Bookworm
      That almost happened to me. After a stroke and heart failure I faced an Atos “assessment” and we all know the outcome of that. Fortunately a friendly DWP adviser told me I was entitled to 100% Pension Guarantee Credit and then migrated me, so I ended up out of the Jokecentre’s clutches. Unfortunately the pension age escalator also applies to the date you become eligible for PGC.

  5. Strangely I was given my pension, early retirement by ATOS advisers, well an ATOS Doctor who actually saw me in person, but a nurse who has never seen me and only has the biased WCA tick box assessment overruled him as far as esa goes claiming i am fully capable of working. What work for how many hours and how many days of the week is not addressed but one can only surmise that somehow the tick box assessment has somehow cured me of a chronic and continuing condition, hence no help whatsoever and a 6 month sanction for having the audacity to ask a DWP employee for assistance in my claim.

  6. No surprise here with ESA, they are phasing out, like all the rest of them, for UC, which still isn’t running properly, all of them will go, ESA is the target for the moment, another stick to beat us with!

  7. Dez

    have just been listening to a story from a middle aged single woman looking for work and living off job seekers. Her local employment branch has decided that she and around 15 others should be gainfully employed doing site clearance work clearing up run down church yards. For this work they are paid £40 per week ie a sum less than job seekers allowance because their bus fares are paid for journeying miles away from their home town. When they arrive at their destination they have to walk very long distances to get to their final destination and return….no fares are provided for the last long leg to the site area. …they feel like they are serving community service sentences from the looks passers by give them. The Government talk about a living wage but fail to provide even a minimum wage for those that are set labouring tasks such as clearing up church yards. How can Churches get this slave labour….do they get it for nothing or reduced rates from the Government or do they get an agreed contract rate for providing cheap labour? This was a new conversation subject for me an area I which I am not familiar but in my heart I did not feel this was a fair situation and can understand why this person relies totally on food banks, skips and charity to survive on her own. Her small flat is paid for …nothing else. She would like to apply and chase what jobs there are coming up for seasonal jobs but is spending working and travelling time carrying out slave labour. Has anyone heard of such schemes as there is no permanent work at the end of this 26 week stint and no jobs have been put forward to any of the work party whilst engaged in this work. ..

  8. NMac

    Is Duncan-Smith interested in whether his systems are right or wrong? I very much doubt it. He couldn’t care less.

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