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PIP and DLA spared, but ‘perverse incentives’ for ESA claimants axed

Today’s budget does not include any cuts, taxes or uprating freezes for personal independence payment (PIP) or disability living allowance (DLA), much to the relief of disabled claimants. However, employment and support allowance claimants have been hit hard, with the ending of the ‘perverse incentive’ of the work-related activity component.

No cuts for disability benefits
There had been fears that DLA and PIP would be made subject to income tax or frozen in today’s budget. Happily, neither of those things happened.

However, we won’t be certain that no changes to PIP qualifying criteria are being made until we see tomorrow’s ‘Welfare Reform and Work Bill’.

ESA uprating freeze
The support component of ESA will not be frozen from April 2016.

But the ESA basic allowance of £73.10 (for people aged 25 and over) and the work-related activity component of £29.05 will both be subject to the four year freeze.

This will lead to many more ESA claimants struggling to survive by 2020.

End of the work-related activity component
Osborne announced the end of the work-related activity component of £29.05 a week for new claimants, but not for ‘current claimants’.

He told the Commons:

“We also want to increase employment amongst those who have health challenges but are capable of taking steps back to work.

“The employment and support allowance introduced by the last Labour government was supposed to end some of the perverse incentives in the old incapacity benefit. Instead it has introduced new ones. And one of these is that those who are placed in the work-related activity group receive more money a week than those on jobseeker’s allowance, but get nothing like the help to find suitable employment.

“The number of JSA claimants has fallen by 700,000 since 2010 while the number of incapacity benefit claimants has fallen by just 90,000. This is despite 61% of claimants in the ESA WRAG benefit saying they want to work.

“So for future claimants only, we will align the ESA work-related activity group rate with the rate of jobseeker’s allowance.

“No current claimants will be affected by this change and we will provide new funding for additional support to help claimants return to work.”

Serious and degenerative conditions
The removal of the work-related activity component will not just hit people who are supposedly capable of moving back into work.

Osborne’s ‘perverse incentive’ will also hit many people with serious degenerative conditions such as multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease and motor neurone disease who are not yet sufficiently incapacitated to qualify for the support group, but whose condition will only get worse.

These are people who are extraordinarily unlikely to ever work again.

Their conditions will mean that they face substantial extra costs for things like heating, disability aids, transport and special diets. But to Osborne, the extra £30 a week is merely a ‘perverse incentive’ that keeps them from making the necessary effort to find an employer willing to take them on.

Who are ‘current claimants’?
Osborne says that ‘current claimants’ will not be affected. But who does that cover?

For example, does that include claimants still stuck in the assessment phase after many months waiting for a medical? Will they get the work-related activity component if placed in the WRAG?

Does it include incapacity benefit claimants who have yet to be transferred to ESA?

Tomorrow’s ‘Welfare Reform and Work Bill’ may make things clearer.

Massive disincentive to try work
Removing the work-related activity component may actually create a strong incentive for current claimants in the WRAG to avoid ever attempting work again.

At the moment claimants know they can try working and, if turns out that their health just isn’t up to it, they can return to claiming ESA.

However, a WRAG claimant attempting work in the future would know that if it didn’t work out, and they weren’t covered by any linking rules, they would be condemned to trying to live on almost £30 a week less than they had been surviving on before.

Now that George, really is a ‘perverse incentive’.

Comments  

+2 #30 tintack 2015-07-17 20:18
It looks like they've decided the Freedom of Information Act is an inconvenience they can do without (too "intrusive" apparently). So they're appointing a commission to review it, consisting largely of people who are on record criticising the Act.

I think we can assume that things such as ESA death statistics will be much harder to obtain if they get their way. Of course, this is the same government which wants to ram through the snoopers charter on the grounds that if you have nothing to hide then you have nothing to fear. Apparently this doesn't apply to themselves when it comes to the FoI Act.

It's almost as though there were some kind of hypocrisy or double standard at work.....
+2 #29 tintack 2015-07-17 01:09
Quoting Paul Richards:
Hi tintack,
Yes, all very good points made and let's hope that Labour can pull something out of the bag - but I very much doubt it as it stands at the moment.


An MP said on tonight's Newsnight that Corbyn favours more generous benefits for people who refuse to work. Yes, I know, just what you'd expect to hear from the Tories. Except that the MP who said this is Chuka Umunna, supposedly a Labour MP.

If Umunna can point to where Corbyn said that those refusing to work should get more benefits then fair enough, but I rather suspect he can't. All Corbyn has said is that he doesn't want to see benefits cut, and he doesn't try to demonise anyone on benefits as a scrounger. What a loss to the leadership contest Umunna was!

Quote:
The Tories meanwhile, two months in are as reactionary as ever - it all reminds me very much of The Thatcher years - they are now going out of their way to do some colossal upsetting of various groups, including the BBC (!!), the Hospital Doctors & the Unions - who are next in line for a general bullying & bashing I wonder!
It's worse than that, they're going much further than Thatcher ever dared. They have the press to brainwash the public, with even the supposedly neutral broadcasters joining in with the likes of Benefits Street, and as the actions of the DWP over the last few years have shown, they regard the law as a nuisance to be got round rather than something they're supposed to uphold. And Labour don't even have the balls to raise a whimper of protest, and indeed even support them, especially when it comes to sticking the boot in to people on benefits. Where's Guy Fawkes when you need him?*

* Note to anyone from GCHQ who might be reading this: this comment is in fact what is commonly referred to as "a joke".
#28 Paul Richards 2015-07-16 21:12
Hi tintack,
Yes, all very good points made and let's hope that Labour can pull something out of the bag - but I very much doubt it as it stands at the moment.
If they do change then it it would have to be a major one for them!
The Tories meanwhile, two months in are as reactionary as ever - it all reminds me very much of The Thatcher years - they are now going out of their way to do some colossal upsetting of various groups, including the BBC (!!), the Hospital Doctors & the Unions - who are next in line for a general bullying & bashing I wonder!
By the way, the comment in the Guardian definitely sums it all up as it is nowadays!
+1 #27 tintack 2015-07-15 17:45
Quoting Paul Richards:
Hi all,
Please have a look at this: 20yr old SNP MP Mhairi Black in the Commons yesterday. She really tells it like it is and what this Government is doing. (sorry it's such a long web address!)

http://parliamentlive.tv/event/index/aa555458-25d4-4125-96ca-c4c9f834cd4c?in=15%3A06%3A05&out=15%3A14%3A39


Pretty impressive and certainly a confident performance, especially for a 20 year old. Listening to her and other SNP MPs, I bet a lot of Labour backbenchers are thinking to themselves, "why aren't we saying these things?". Then they watch Harman pledging support for Osborne's benefit cuts and groan. The SNP must be delighted, because when it comes to next year's Holyrood election, all they have to say is, "do you really want to support a party that agrees with George Osborne and Iain Duncan Smith?".

By the way, I just found this comment under a Guardian article, and I think there's a fair bit of truth to it:

Quote:
A nation of shit scared home owners clinging like grim death to their overinflated house price in the hope of future salvation has turned the population into cowardly self serving tory appeasers.
It obviously doesn't apply to the whole country, but it's certainly true of the part of the country where Tory support is strong.
#26 Paul Richards 2015-07-15 15:22
Hi all,
Please have a look at this: 20yr old SNP MP Mhairi Black in the Commons yesterday. She really tells it like it is and what this Government is doing. (sorry it's such a long web address!)

http://parliamentlive.tv/event/index/aa555458-25d4-4125-96ca-c4c9f834cd4c?in=15%3A06%3A05&out=15%3A14%3A39
+1 #25 tintack 2015-07-15 02:01
One other point: it goes without saying (or at least it should) that trying to appease the press is pointless. If Labour thinks the answer is to "occupy the centre ground" they're in for a shock, not least because the "centre" ground has been moving relentlessly to the right for many years, and that process will only accelerate now. It's true that Labour has most of the press against it, and that certainly goes some way to explaining its current timidity, but those papers are typical bullies: if you try to appease them they'll just thump even harder.

It's interesting to note that in Scotland the Tories don't have a stranglehold on the press, which means they don't have truckloads of propaganda pumped out on their behalf on a daily basis. The result? They're little more than a fringe party north of the border, and at present the only opposition to the Tories' agenda at Westminster seems to be coming from the SNP, who are putting Labour to shame. Harman saying that Labour will support most of the Tories' benefit cuts is exactly the sort of thing which led to them being obliterated in Scotland by the SNP. The Scots are rightly furious with Labour for being willing to hit the very people the party was set up to defend, but even now it seems the penny hasn't dropped.
+3 #24 tintack 2015-07-15 01:47
Quoting Paul Richards:
Whatever sort of Country are we now living in?


Quote:
Whatever sort of Country are we now living in?
We're living in a country which is increasingly a mixture of two toxic elements: fascism in the original sense, i.e. a merging of government with corporate power to create what is virtually a single entity; and a modern version of the medieval feudal system, in which your social status is determined almost entirely by accident of birth and your chances of improving your lot are negligible if you don't have considerable inherited wealth to fall back on.

In other words, a system in which a corrupt and greedy "elite" get the bulk of the cake while the rest of us are duped (by a corrupt press) into tearing each others' throats out for an extra crumb from the top table, to deflect attention from the rotten system which creates such a state of affairs in the first place. So the propaganda rags are used to turn public sector workers against private sector workers, those in work against the unemployed, and as many people as possible against anyone on any sort of benefits (pensioners excepted, since they tend to vote Tory).

So someone like Corbyn is "unelectable" because he doesn't toe the corporate line, which means he must be traduced so the public won't give him a fair hearing. The tax-dodging non-doms who own the Tory press thus decide what is and is not acceptable opinion. Anything that can't be directly controlled, such as the BBC, must be bullied in to line. So we have a Tory MP saying the "left-wing" BBC (which is nonsense, as the BBC is about as left wing as my right foot) needs to be "controlled". Having overwhelming support in the press is apparently not enough for those poor downtrodden Tories.

That's the sort of country we're living in.
+1 #23 tintack 2015-07-15 01:40
Quoting Paul Richards:
She has now publicly exhorted that she and her (Labour) party would, for the most part, support all of the Tory cuts in benefits.


Harman is a liability. No backbone whatsoever. The sooner she's gone the better.

Quote:
The 'Labour' party is as such, now no more.
There are some decent people like Corbyn, and I think Dan Jarvis comes across as a very decent bloke. But the leadership.....oh dear.

Quote:
The only thing that may just save their sorry ars*s is the growing revolt - led by Jeremy Corbyn - (hopefully also by Dennis Skinner & Frank Field) and the other MP's who are really leading a 'left-wing' revolt
Not sure about Field, he was the one tasked by Blair to "think the unthinkable" on benefits. Maybe he's changed though. Corbyn and Skinner are certainly both true Labour people.

Corbyn's response to the Tory budget was a model of succint clarity: he described it as the same as the last Tory budget nearly 20 years ago, i.e. tax cuts for the rich while clobbering the poor, and all paid for by selling off state assets. That should have been Labour's response, but anything that sounds even mildly left-wing seems to make them wet themselves these days.
+1 #22 Paul Richards 2015-07-14 21:52
Hi all,
Sorry - forgot to mention these facts also:
Firstly - Harriet Harman - she -( now of 'millionairess' fame) has apparently now totally lost her concern for all of the underpriveleged , the poor, the sick and the disabled. She should 'jump ship' and go to the Tories - as that is really where 'she' now belongs.
She has now publicly exhorted that she and her (Labour) party would, for the most part, support all of the Tory cuts in benefits.
The 'Labour' party is as such, now no more. They are a stagnant and dead party - upheld in the hope that, in the future they can grab a few votes here and there, from a few of the middle-class (who are dissatisfied with the Tories right-wing policies).
One of the worst things is the fact - that even now, they do not know how they lost the election (Duhhh!!!)
The only thing that may just save their sorry ars*s is the growing revolt - led by Jeremy Corbyn - (hopefully also by Dennis Skinner & Frank Field) and the other MP's who are really leading a 'left-wing' revolt in the hope that the original 'Labour' party can be restored.
If they cannot restore it, then we are are in, for the next 5 years or so for nothing less than a Neo-Nazi (and also very rich and priveleged) elite Government who are hell-bent upon the destruction of all of the 'underclass' people. These include ALL of the poor, the working poor, the unemployed, the sick, the disabled and the homeless. And also, very probably the young, - (the 16-24 year olds) who are also going to be increasingly attacked as time progresses. Whatever sort of Country are we now living in?
+1 #21 Paul Richards 2015-07-14 20:09
Hi all,
tintack - many thanks for letting know about this one - I really hope that any Tory voters that helped to get them in are now regretting what is happening. With no effective opposition - we are now in a dictatorship and with what is happening, day after day, this is becoming increasingly evident.

Some other interesting stuff is happening also (not always reported on the 'News' as such)

1) A Civil Service/Public Union strike is due to occur next Monday & Tuesday (20th/21st July) involving JCP staff in Glasgow & Bolton, Gtr Manchester to protest at the lack of support/staffin g etc from the DWP for the roll out of Universal Credit.

2) The BBC is now under very imminent attack from the Tories (for being too 'left-wing' - one would hardly hav thought so though on Election Night!

3) Due to a previous (all EU Nation) agreement with the EU - Britain looks set to pay between £80,000,000 & £1 Billion to help Greece out temporarily, (until they can sort out a new bail-out deal)

4) The 'Secure Area' for lorries (on the way back to the UK) at Calais will be run by the French and paid for by the 'British Taxpayer' - as reported on Sky News earlier today after an announcement by Theresa May in the Commons. (she confirmed both these points made as above).

What is going to happen next I wonder!!??
+1 #20 tintack 2015-07-14 00:16
Here's what's coming down the tracks next:

http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2015/jul/13/david-cameron-open-to-workers-saving-up-fund-own-sick-pay

So in an economy based increasingly on badly paid, insecure jobs, including many on zero hours contracts, you're now supposed to fund your own sick pay. Would it be too cynical to suggest that these "savings" accounts would consist of products sold by the Tories' mates in the private sector?

The article says that this idea is not government policy, but then they said that about slashing the WRAG before the election. We can only hope that this sort of thing will turn out to be the hubristic nonsense that finally makes people wake up and realise where we're headed. I wouldn't bet on it though. It makes me wonder just what sort of policies they would have to adopt before their supporters think they've gone too far. The return of public hanging perhaps, updated of course to include a cut-price deal on pay-per-view TV? The slaughter of the first born? Even that would probably be lauded by the Tory press as an innovative solution to Britain's overcrowding problem.
+1 #19 tintack 2015-07-13 00:18
Quoting Paul Richards:
Hi all,
Just as a bit of extra added interest - you may care to have a look at this one - bearing in mind that it's come from the 'Sunday Torygraph' !

www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/11733810/Iain-Duncan-Smith-the-unlikely-champion-for-workers-on-why-his-benefits-battle-is-far-from-over.html

The budget has seemingly given IDS a whole new impetus!
When is someone going to stand up and fight this sad & deluded pit-bull terrier of a 'man'?


Good grief, that Torygraph piece really is shockingly poor. The Tory press has never been great, but there was a time, at least in the more "serious" ones, when you might at least have read some sort of reasoned analysis to back up Tory policy, even if you disagreed with it. Not any more though. These papers are now not just pro-Tory, they're relentlessly sycophantic and uncritical cheerleaders who pump out article after article which might as well have been written by Tory Central Office. This article is a prime example. It's the right wing version of Pravda.
+3 #18 tintack 2015-07-13 00:11
Quoting Paul Richards:
What I would REALLY like to know is -
Why is Iain Duncan Smith - who is obviously now a 'pensioner' - still in his revered position of 'Minister for Works and Pensions'.


You have to bear in mind that the global crash of 2008 was a monumental failure of the deregulatory free market fundamentalism which we've had for the last 35 years. In order to deflect attention from that rather inconvenient fact, the supporters of that ideology needed to find a scapegoat, and those at the bottom of society and on benefits fit the bill perfectly. After all, those at the top are the ones who support the neoliberal nonsense that caused the crash, for the simple reason that they're the ones who benefit from it. Because of their wealth they also have the power and influence to shift public opinion. Those on benefits have very little power, so it's hard to fight back.

IDS keeps his job because, like his party, he's happy to clobber those at the bottom and is therefore also happy to distract public opinion in the manner described above. It's no good pointing out that his policies are a total failure in economic, human and moral terms - the Tories couldn't care less about any of that. The brainwashing of the public has been largely successful, or at least a big enough minority of the public to give the Tories a majority in the Commons. As far as they're concerned that's all that counts.
+2 #17 angela 2015-07-12 20:23
Quoting Paul Richards:
Hi all,
Just as a bit of extra added interest - you may care to have a look at this one - bearing in mind that it's come from the 'Sunday Torygraph' !

www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/11733810/Iain-Duncan-Smith-the-unlikely-champion-for-workers-on-why-his-benefits-battle-is-far-from-over.html
There seems no hope for us now even harriet harmen says labour will not fight these new welfare cuts words i thought i would neverQuoting Paul Richards:
Hi all,
Just as a bit of extra added interest - you may care to have a look at this one - bearing in mind that it's come from the 'Sunday Torygraph' !

www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/11733810/Iain-Duncan-Smith-the-unlikely-champion-for-workers-on-why-his-benefits-battle-is-far-from-over.html

The budget has seemingly given IDS a whole new impetus!
When is someone going to stand up and fight this sad & deluded pit-bull terrier of a 'man'?

hear
The budget has seemingly given IDS a whole new impetus!
When is someone going to stand up and fight this sad & deluded pit-bull terrier of a 'man'?
+1 #16 Paul Richards 2015-07-12 15:39
Hi all,
Just as a bit of extra added interest - you may care to have a look at this one - bearing in mind that it's come from the 'Sunday Torygraph' !

www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/11733810/Iain-Duncan-Smith-the-unlikely-champion-for-workers-on-why-his-benefits-battle-is-far-from-over.html

The budget has seemingly given IDS a whole new impetus!
When is someone going to stand up and fight this sad & deluded pit-bull terrier of a 'man'?
+4 #15 Paul Richards 2015-07-11 21:25
Hi all,
The latest news today is that David Cameron intends to go back to the E.U. (during the re-negotiations ) to try to get Britain out of the Working Directive - part of the Social Chapter (that was originally signed up to by Tony Blair). If he achieves this, then this would effectively allow employers to force workers to do more than 48 hours per week (without their express agreement and this would also not allow them their rest breaks and annual leave weeks - as they have at present).

This would be a 'have the cake and eat it' moment for Cameron as when there is an EU In/Out referendum by the end of 2017 - if he has renegotiated this then he has won (with an 'IN' vote)

If GB votes to get out of the EU - the bast*** has still won as this legislation would then be non-operative and totally void anyway.

The 'working poor' had better look out even more - working tax credits cut and their employers may say 'if you want to keep your (miserably paid!) jobs then you had better do as I say and work longer hours for less.

This lot are total scum and I would really like to know what gives 'his highness' Cameron the power to do this seemingly unilaterally and off of his own bat - after all, we do not hear that the rest of the Tories are in agreement - indeed - not even a 'full house' vote on this!! :o
+2 #14 stevie mac 2015-07-11 20:10
im in the wrag but if there is no wrag what group am i supposed to be in i think i will end up getting a letter to say i am a jobseekeer now im on high mob dla mid care dla
+2 #13 bubblegum 2015-07-09 23:50
I'm very confused by the budget. I only thought it was from April 2017 that new claimants being deemed as entitled WRAG that would receive the reduced amount of £29.05? For example if you're now in the SG and then assessed as being in WRAG tomorrow would you receive the reduced benefit? Can someone enlighten me please?
+3 #12 Paul Richards 2015-07-09 20:31
Re IDS : A 'narcissistic sociopath' might be a good place to start! :eek:
+5 #11 canttrusthesystem 2015-07-09 16:05
Quote:
Waching IDS yesterday cheering and punching the air as got to be one of the worst sights i have seen in the commons in my life what kind of man does this kind of thing it was like watching kids in a play ground
It makes one wonder what a psychiatric asessment would uncover.

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