The BBC has obtained a leaked document which shows that the government is considering abolishing the work-related activity group (WRAG) of employment and support allowance. The BBC claims that ministers are also considering unspecified changes to the support group.
The leaked document was produced prior to the general election and is marked ‘Not government policy’ but, according to the BBC, the cut to ESA is still being considered.
If the plan does go through it will mean that claimants with extremely serious, degenerative conditions such as multiple sclerosis and motor neurone disease are likely to be obliged to claim jobseeker’s allowance until they are so incapacitated that they qualify for the support group.
Whilst on JSA they will be subject to the extremely punitive sanctions regime, which pays little regard to claimants’ health conditions.
The document also suggests that the work capability assessment should be renamed the ‘employment capability assessment’ and should be carried out much earlier in the claim process.
Bizarrely, the cut is presented as a kindness to claimants, because if there is no WRAG claimants would have less reason to worry that the outcome of their assessment was wrong.
The BBC claims that ministers are also considering changes to the support group, which could be announced in next Wednesday’s budget.