Friday, July 25, 2014

WCA: Labour Should Commit to Scrapping ‘Fit For Work’ Tests, say Campaigners

Labour should commit to scrapping the Work Capability Assessment (WCA), which leaves sick and disabled benefit claimants living in fear, campaigners have said today (24 July 2014).

In a joint statement from Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC), Mental Health Resistance Network (MHRN), Black Triangle Campaign and New Approach (#NewApproach), campaigners argue that the WCA leads to disabled people feeling “harassed” and discriminates against benefit claimants with mental health impairments.

The comments come following the release of a Work and Pensions Select Committee report earlier this week, which found that Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), and the ‘fit for work’ assessments used to determine eligibility for the benefit, is “so grave” that simply “rebranding” the assessment by appointing a new contractor will not solve fundamental flaws and weaknesses within the system.

The committee called on the government to “fundamentally redesign” ESA and the WCA “to ensure that the main purpose of the benefit – helping claimants with health conditions and disabilities to move into employment where this is possible for them – is achieved”.

However, campaigners argue that simply making “improvements” to the ESA assessment system “would not make the WCA any less wrong or any more useful”.