Category Archives: links

Link: The ESA ‘Fit For Work’ vicious circle

Channel 4 News reports on the “rocketing” numbers of appeals for employment and support allowance (ESA) being heard by the Tribunal Service, which have quadrupled in two years, “from 68,000 in 2009 to a projected 240,000 by the end of this financial year.” The cost to the taxpayer: “£80m and rising”.

“Channel 4 News contacted 30 advice centres across Britain and every single one said they had clients on their second or even third appeal. Jude Hawes is the welfare benefits manager at Stoke CAB.


“She says every day they’re dealing with clients appealing against ESA decisions, many of them for a second time. “I’ve worked in welfare benefits since 1983 and… we’ve never had one benefit one sort of appeal that just dominates the landscape like this.””

You can still catch the broadcast on Channel 4’s Watch Again service here.

Links: Disability benefits paid “without checks”? The statistics debunked

Ruth Barnett writes about the Department for Work and Pensions press release with a particularly nastily-spun statistic (bold in original):

“The vast majority (94%) of new claimants got the benefit without having any face-to-face assessment of their needs.”

Ruth writes:

“The rest of the release paints a more complex (or to be less diplomatic, potentially contradictory) picture.


“It seems 42% of claimants had a statement from their GP verifying their medical condition; a further 36% submitted other sources of evidence, a category that can include reports by social workers or occupational therapists.


“Surely a GP is a “healthcare professional”? And surely all these trained staff will have met the claimant in person? Does this not count as a form of assessment? Apparently not.


The DWP’s figures show 16% submitted a claim form alone.”

Ruth got a response from the DWP, who do not feel their statements were misleading. Those statements include a quote from Secretary of State for Work and Pensions Iain Duncan Smith that “At the moment hundreds of millions of pounds are paid out in disability benefits to people who have simply filled out a form.”

She points out:

“The DWP figures show the cost of new claimants who really did just fill in the form last year was […] £30m.”

Also debunked and unpicked on Left Foot Forward.