The number of people in receipt of employment and support allowance (ESA) or incapacity benefit (IB) is set to fall according to the DWP’s early estimates for July 2015, released today. But the fall is tiny and once again raises doubts about the entire IB to ESA transfer process.
According to the latest figures, the number of people in receipt of ESA/IB has fallen from 2,525,000 to 2,515,000 between June and July 2015, after three months when numbers had remained the same.
However, the fall is well under 1% of the total number of claimants.
Moreover, with the transfer of incapacity benefit claimants to ESA nearing its long drawn out end, it is clear that it has been a massive failure in terms of cutting claimant numbers.
Migration began with pilots in October 2010, but didn’t get going properly until 2011. In May 2011 there were 2,570,220 ESA/IB claimant.
So, to date, the claimant count has fallen by less than 2% over the course of almost the entire ESA to IB transfer. And, in reality, it’s entirely possible that numbers would have dropped by at least that amount without any intervention by the government.
So, the real question is: how many lives has such a paltry cut in claimant numbers cost?