New figures are out today via the DWP website on the process of moving people from Incapacity Benefit (the old benefit paid to people considered incapable of work due to a medical condition) to the new Employment and Support Allowance.
As ever, Sue Marsh has written an excellent piece on her blog about what these could mean for the government if they don’t pull their collective fingers out over the next month. You can read it at her blog, Diary of a Benefit Scrounger.
The truth is the game is up. Oh, the name might limp on – you know how politicians love to save face – but there are only two ways for ESA to go : It either has to improve drastically, beyond all recognition, in partnership with sick and disabled people or current protests will spill over into a terrible crisis for Britain.
My initial take is that the figures suggest the government is trying desperately to ensure their “fit for work” decisions – i.e. the amount of people they kick off benefit – remains at around a third. In order to try and appease the disability lobby, however, they are declaring more people eligible for the support group – i.e. they’re giving them more money for longer.
I’m sure as people read more into them we’ll find some better nuggets of wisdom.
I’ve written about ESA a few times here if you need/want any further background reading.