The Division for Work and Pensions (DWP) has lastly printed figures that present what number of common credit score claimants are being discovered “match for work” by way of the work functionality evaluation course of.
They present that DWP is constantly discovering extra disabled folks claiming common credit score match for work – or no less than to be appropriate for what DWP calls work-related exercise – than it’s for these claiming employment and assist allowance (ESA).
However as a result of the 2 teams of claimants are prone to have totally different assist wants, it’s unattainable to attract any agency conclusions from the figures.
Former DWP ministers reminiscent of Therese Coffey and Chloe Smith have repeatedly argued that it might be too costly to provide official statistics exhibiting what number of disabled claimants of common credit score have been put by way of the work functionality evaluation (WCA), what stage of profit they obtained following their evaluation, and what number of had been being discovered match for work.
Smith instructed MPs on the work and pensions committee in July that it was too costly and an excessive amount of effort to provide the statistics about key elements of an evaluation system linked to a whole lot, and possibly hundreds, of deaths over the past decade.
Sarah Newton, the minister for disabled folks on the time, promised practically 4 years in the past that DWP would quickly be publishing official WCA common credit score statistics.
However these statistics had been by no means printed.
The Workplace for Statistics Regulation instructed DWP earlier this yr – following a criticism from Incapacity Information Service – that its failure to publish common credit score WCA statistics left “a spot within the data obtainable” and that there was a “wealth of proof across the want for transparency round Common Credit score WCA statistics”.
It now seems that – shortly earlier than she was sacked from the publish of labor and pensions secretary by Rishi Sunak this week – Smith had a change of coronary heart.
In response to a written parliamentary query from Sir Stephen Timms, the Labor chair of the Commons work and pensions committee, the brand new minister for disabled folks, Claire Coutinho, launched some restricted figures.
These figures, which had been launched earlier this month, had been first noticed by the Advantages and Work recommendation web site.
They present that, for each month from July 2021 to March 2022 – other than November 2021 – the proportion of claimants going by way of the work functionality evaluation who had been discovered match for work, or had been positioned within the group of these anticipated to hold out work- associated exercise, was increased for these looking for assist by way of common credit score (UC) than for these receiving employment and assist allowance (ESA)*.
Within the newest month by which figures had been obtainable, March 2022, 21 per cent of these on ESA who had been put by way of the WCA had been discovered match for work, with one other 13.4 per cent positioned within the work-related exercise group (WRAG).
However in the identical month, 23.9 per cent of UC claimants had been discovered match for work and one other 16.8 per cent had been discovered to have restricted functionality for work (the UC equal of WRAG).
The figures don’t show there’s a harsher evaluation regime beneath UC, because it may very well be that the inhabitants of ESA claimants going by way of the WCA have increased assist wants on common.
However they nonetheless increase recent questions – supported by anecdotal proof – over whether or not ministers are utilizing the brand new UC system to limit spending and improve strain on claimants to maneuver in direction of work.
A DWP spokesperson declined to say if the division would now be publishing common official statistics on UC and WCAs.
However the division mentioned the figures launched to Sir Stephen had been produced utilizing departmental administration data, which is a much less in depth and expensive course of than producing official statistics.
*ESA was launched as the brand new out-of-work illness and incapacity profit in 2008, and ESA claimants are actually regularly being moved onto common credit score
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