Wednesday, 26 October 2011

More destructive idiocy from the DWP

Various disability organisations and blogs are reporting the disturbing news that the DWP is apparently considering reducing Employment Support Allowance payments (the main form of support for sick and disabled people) while claimants are appealing their assessment decisions.

Now, given that the DWP's own figures say that it takes on average 28 weeks for an appeal to progress from arriving at the DWP to the first appeal tribunal hearing, this means that sick and disabled people could routinely face a 7 month period where they don't receive the support they need. This wouldn't be a problem were it not for the fact that 40% of appeals that make it to tribunal are successful (when claimants have access to advice from the CAB that  rises to a 70% success rate). So, if the DWP goes ahead with this then this would mean that hundreds of thousands of sick and disabled people be forced to go without the support they are entitled to and need for seven months! On average!

Of course, you might say that this is "speculation" or "baseless gossip". Well, that would be a fair enough comment were it not for the fact that DWP minister Chris Grayling was recently questioned about this precise matter:
Gemma Doyle: I thank the Minister for his detailed answer. Will he take this opportunity to refute press reports that he will cut the ESA of people who appeal against assessment decisions, especially in the light of the information that 40% of cases are being won on appeal?

Chris Grayling: What I expect to see as a result of the changes following Professor Harrington’s review in the summer is a significant reduction in the number of cases that go to appeal when the Department’s initial review and the reconsideration are upheld. In order to ease pressure on individuals, we have tried to ensure that there is a proper reconsideration service in Jobcentre Plus, so that they can produce new evidence at that stage and need not use the Courts Service at all. 
- Hansard
So, basically, he's refused to say that there aren't any plans to cut ESA payments to people appealing. Which is politician code for "these plans are being considered but I don't want to talk about it". And the truly outrageous thing about these plans are that, if implemented, they would be punishing a lot of disabled people simply because the DWP's contractror mucked up the assessment!

In short, this is yet another bit if idiocy from the DWP which could prove deeply destructive to the well being of the sick and disabled. If there's anyone in the DWP with any intelligence or sense of decency at all then they will put an end to this immediately.

And, if you're as outraged by this as I am, then you can put pressure on the DWP about another proposal which will hit disabled people by helping with the LY ESA campaign.


  1. I've come to the conclusion that this government wants there to be more unrest in the UK.

    They are deliberately going about the business of making life next to impossible for all the people who did nothing at all to contribute to the economic meltdown.

    At the same time they are doing their best to help all the people who created it, by throwing our money at banks, which refuse to use it to lend, and instead pocket it in bigger bonuses and bigger dividends.

    When people protest quietly and peacefully, as they are doing in London, they are moved along from the place that is the centre of the cause of all the poverty and misery.

    The more they hurt us, the closer they push us to "un-British" behaviour, but there really is only so much people can take of being ground into the floor by a group of people who have no earthly idea of what normal life is like, before they start to fight back.

    Now if I were in government I'd be trying hard to keep the underclass sweet until the Olympics (and they eyes of the world) were out of the way.

    Just saying...

  2. Thanks for keeping these issues in the blogging arena George.
    All kudos to you.
    Incidentally,tris has a point.

  3. I find that tris tends to always have a good point.

    I'd like to think that it is more a case of callous idiocy on the government's part more than being deliberate though.

  4. An alternative approach at


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