Wednesday 27 July 2011


Either they have no shame or an odd sense of irony.

I pick up the Evening Standard on the tube and discover the following item.

DWP announced the latest figures on sickness benefit claimants who had been found " fit for work". Trumpeting the results they suggest that more than a million people on benefit are able to work. And yet again DWP fail to mention that 4 in 10 will succeed on appeal.

Steve Webb MP is quoted as saying the figures show many people are able to work with the right support.

But what does Steve Webb MP have to say on the main report today on this very issue?

What do DWP make of the select committee report ? It was not referred to in above press release, yet the release of these figures is one of the problems the Select Committee complain about.

Did officials not give Steve Webb MP this report? Had the press Department not spotted it?

The select committee found that the introduction of new medical assessments to decide whether claimants are eligible for sickness benefits has prompted "fear and anxiety among vulnerable people", partly because the tests have resulted in large numbers of seriously unwell claimants being refused support.

The report states: "It is widely accepted that the Work Capability Assessment [WCA], as introduced in 2008, was flawed. This has been borne out by the high number of appeals and the high success rate of appellants. It was also reflected in the amount of evidence from individuals which expressed grievances with the way they were treated during the process and the accuracy of the outcome."

The MPs estimate the cost to the taxpayer of these appeals at around £50m a year.

None of this was in the DWP press release! Do they think we won't notice?

The disgrace of the allegations made , and the role of ATOS deserve a proper response from DWP. To put out a press release that continues , as the Select Committee says , to pedal stereotypes is the proverbial 2 fingers . It insults the charities that have been trying to get this sorted. Is it not time DWP paid attention to the serious problem over the new tests ?

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