DPAC is writing to you to urge you to vote against a cut in ESA for claimants in the Work Related Activity Group (WRAG). We will not go over again the reasons for the Lords to vote against it, but we wish to present further evidence which undermines the government rationale for doing this, and especially the 1% statistics presented.
On the 27th of January 2016, the Minister for Disabled People, Justin Tomlinson, made the following statement to justify this cut: http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201516/cmhansrd/cm160127/halltext/160127h0001.htm
‘We must not forget that ESA WRAG was not a golden solution; it had been criticised by all parties for a long time. Only 1% of claimants a month were coming off that benefit into work’.
This statement echoes Lord Freud’s statement during the 2nd sitting on the 9th of December 2015 although moving into work was not mentioned: ‘However, only around 1% of people in the work related activity group leave the benefit each month, so clearly the existing policy is not working as intended and is failing claimants’ http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld201516/ldhansrd/text/151209-0002.htm
Lord Freud in an addendum gives the explanation for the 1%: ‘Explanation of the 1% figure used in the policy note The 1% off flow figure is derived from caseloads and off flow statistics published through the DWP Tabulation Tool. The latest figures show that 17,000 of the 477,000 WRAG claimants (March 2015 to May 2015) left the benefit. This equates to 3.6% for the quarter and as such an average of 1.2% each month’. http://data.parliament.uk/DepositedPapers/Files/DEP2015-1009/151203_Peers_Briefing_Addendum_-_Clauses_13_and_14.pdf
Although the statement is true, it does not reflect the reality and a department employing a huge number of statisticians such as DWP would know that. What needs to be looked at is not the number of claimants leaving the WRAG per month, but the cumulative number of ESA claimants leaving the WRAG against the total number of claimants placed in the WRAG.
Between October 2008 and March 2015, 573.200 New Claimants have been put in the WRAG and since 2011, 488.400 reassessed IB claimants have also been placed in the WRAG, which means a total of 1,061,600 claimants have been placed in the WRAG.
This can be checked here https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/esa-outcomes-of-work-capability-assessments-claims-made-to-mar-2015-and-appeals-to-sept-2015 Table 1a for outcome of WCA for new claimants (573.200) and Table 10 for outcome of reassessments of IB claimants (488.400)
As of May 2015, the WRAG caseload is 476,500 claimants, which means that 585,100 claimants moved out of the WRAG during this period. http://tabulation-tool.dwp.gov.uk/WorkProg/wp_cuml_jo/payment_group/clndsbmt/a_cnjo_r_payment_group_c_clndsbmt_sep15.html
Obviously, the situation is more complex, as there is an interaction between the assessment phase and the WRAG, and some claimants in the WRAG would have been subsequently placed into the Support Group, while others would have appealed, but these figures are either not known, or they have not been submitted, and MPs and Lords have been asked to make an informed decision on the basis of incomplete, and in the case of the 1%, misleading figures.
The Lords have found no evidence to support the assertion that benefit level was negatively associated with employment.
We hope that you will take this into consideration.We also wanted to make it clear how the 1% figure has been misrepresented ahead of the vote on Tuesday deciding if disabled people in the WRAG should lose one third of their income
PS: you will find as an attached printscreen of all the tables referred to in the main submission (this is shown below)
And for more information about the statistics related to the WRAG, please contact Nick Dilworth http://ilegal.org.uk/thread/7140/dwps-esa-reassessment-programme-chaos?page=18
The DPAC Team
How the 1% was calculated according to Lord Freud:
First by looking at the off flow of people in the WRAG over a quarter (March to May 2015) = 16,940
Then at the total number of people in the WRAG in May 2015:
The number of people in the WRAG is 476,500. So the percentage of claimants in the WRAG leaving the benefit was calculated out of the total number of claimants. This percentage is 3.5% for a quarter, which equals to around 1% per month.
Let’s look now at the cumulative number of ESA claimants placed in the WRAG:
That means that (573.200 + 488.400 ) 1,061,600 claimants have been placed in the WRAG since October 2008.
Caseload in the WRAG in May 2015:
Caseload: 476,500 claimants out of (573.200 + 488.400 =) 1,061,600 claimants placed in the WRAG between October 2008 and March 2015. The number who left the WRAG over this period is 585,100