Thursday, 9 June 2011

Really? This passes for Parliamentary Research?

Well, well, well, look what I've found!!

After weeks of asking and several Freedom Of Information requests, I've finally unearthed the "assessment" the DWP did into Time Limiting ESA!! Clearly I use the word assessment in much the way ATOS do. In other words, pick a policy and then write some stuff that proves what you want to say.

Just in case, in the very unlikely event that you are not an uber-geek like me and you can't stay awake long enough to plough through 16 pages of fairy stories, here's a quick summary :

-It overwhelmingly affects the poorest most. The % impact falls from the highest in the 1st decile of earnings to the lowest in the 10th.
-It estimates that 60% will simply switch to income based ESA and not be affected. This is absolutely ridiculous, pie-in the sky rubbish. I have absolutely no idea how they can make this claim.
- The report concludes that over the term of the parliament 90% of those placed into the Work Related Activity Group (WRAG) will be affected.
-ALL groups will lose income on average through this measure.
-It is based on an assumption that 50% of claims will be appealed!!! How are they able to go forward with a system this inaccurate?
-The report itself claims that 700,000 will be affected by the Time Limit - a figure previously hotly debated, ranging from 400,000 to 1 million. It is expected to cut benefits for those not fully fit for work by 1.2 billion per year.
- The report acknowledges, just as I've been warning, that this is a disincentive to work and may push couples into divorce or into giving up on work altogether. However, they admit that they have no idea how significant this will be.

Possibly the most astonishing part is the claim that the Social Impacts did not need to be investigated, neither under the categories of Health and Well-being, Human Rights or the Justice System. (It does go on to say that an equalities assessment was carried out, which I will do my best to unearth)

As far as I can tell, the research is deeply flawed, based on inaccurate assumptions, incomplete and surely, illegal. If you discount the assumption that 60% will simply move to income based ESA, which I believe is just not true, it is a damning look into what passes for parliamentary research in our so called democracy.


  1. Well I've already been asked if I'd consider a divorce to keep a roof over my child's head, so it's certainly something couples are seriously floating as an option.

  2. It estimates that 60% will simply switch to income based ESA and not be affected. This is absolutely ridiculous, pie-in the sky rubbish. I have absolutely no idea how they can make this claim.

    It MIGHT be true, but only if it were based on the number of people currently receiving Incapacity Benefit (contributions-based) topped up by Income Support (which is means tested). And if it were I would have thought they'd have explained that.

  3. I came across it a while ago -- wish I'd known you were looking for it! The impact assessment can basically be summed up as 'they're disabled, if they can't be cured and they can't be bothered to find a job, then they deserve everything they get'

    They didn't really discuss the consequences for people in my position - single with savings. If my disability doesn't allow me to get back into employment then it basically means I have to sacrifice the vast majority of the money I've managed to put aside through 20-odd years of employment. Effectively the message it gives is that if you're disabled, don't bother saving, the government will simply take it off you when your disability catches up with your ability to work -- so screw saving and live for the now!

    Which somehow doesn't seem entirely in line with all that Tory dogma about fiscal responsibility and investing in the future.....

  4. Just as an incidental, people might like this little positive article on one of America's leading progressive sites:

    Didn't know where else to post it, sorry. I've nothing to say on the above blog post that I haven't said already, except thanks for writing it Sue.

  5. The UK official position is that at least 1 in 5 and from some reports 1 in 4 of the population were covered by the definition of disability in the DDA and the Equality Act has a slightly wider definition, so 1 in 7 is actually a gross underestimate.

  6. Ah, but David you have to remember that it's "people on earth". Yes in the UK (and US) it's about 1 in 5. But you have to take into account countries that don't have our medical care. In this country people survive accidents and illnesses but are left impaired. There are places in the world where people would die.

  7. I can't remember the exact details or numbers, but I'm reasonably sure that research suggests the majority of disabled people in the world are in developing countries (where impairment is often less easily treated than in the minority world, and therefore more likely to become permanent). I can try to find the evidence when I'm up and about.