Login FormClose

Free PIP, ESA & UC Updates!

Delivery Fortnightly!

Over 80,000 claimants and professionals subscribe to the UK's leading source of benefits news.

Form Heading

This article was updated on 13 January 2015 to take into account more recent claimant count statistics from the DWP.

Working age claimants hold the balance of power in enough marginal seats to potentially decide who governs Britain at the next election, and yet they are treated by politicians with such contempt that you might imagine they had no vote at all.  Could that all be about to change?

Amber Vally Conservative Majority vs Claimant CountAs the tables at the bottom of this article show, if just one in four more working age claimants had voted Labour at the last election, Labour would have been the largest party.

It would have taken an even smaller increase in support from claimants for the Conservatives to win outright victory.

And at the last election the Conservatives took 36.1% of the vote, whilst Labout took 29%.  If the polls are correct and this election is a much closer run race, then the votes of working age claimants could be even more crucial.

So why don’t politicians worry about deriding sick and disabled claimants or threatening huge cuts to working age benefits?

Most people believe that the reasons pensioners benefits remain untouched in the current austerity programme are because, firstly, there are a lot of pensioners and, secondly, their age group turns out to vote in large numbers.  

In fact, turnout at last general election by age was 44% for 18-24 year olds, whilst it was 76% for those aged 65 or over.

At May 2013 there were 12.9 million state pension claimants, so that’s a lot of very committed voters.

But there are also 5.2 million working age benefits claimants in Britain and many of these are sick or disabled. For example, 3.26 million receive DLA whilst 2.15 million get ESA, with some getting both benefits. Around 5 million claimants get housing benefit.

By comparison, there are around 6 million trades union members in Britain.

We have no idea how many working age claimants vote, particularly those who are sick and disabled, because nobody cares enough to find out.  But it seems likely that turnout at the last election was relatively low amongst sick and disabled voters simply because many saw themselves as having very little to choose between the three major parties.

At the 2015 general election the picture may be dramatically different, however.  

Many claimants will always despise Labour for their anti-claimant rhetoric, for creating the work capability assessment and for introducing private sector companies like Unum and Atos into the benefits system.  

But following 5 years of coalition savagery, hatred and impoverishment, and with chancellor George Osborne undertaking to cut a further £12 billion mainly from working age benefits, many may also believe that another five years of coalition or Tory rule will represent a virtual – or actual – death sentence for them.

Under those circumstances, if despair does not disenfranchise them entirely, claimants may turn out to vote Labour in unprecedented numbers, holding their noses whilst they do so.

If claimants and representative bodies work conspicuously and effectively to get the claimant vote out in marginal seats, the 2015 election could mark a turning point in the way that politicians regard them.  Jeers and mockery may turn to the same grudging fear with which pensioners are regarded by many politicians.
And after the next election, fear of newly assertive claimants might even be sufficient to force whichever party is in power to pass legislation giving disabled people the same protection against prejudice and hatred that members of ethnic minorities have.  

With the press and politicians finally forced to end the rabble rousing and hate campaigns, the world could look a very different place.

Or are we just dreaming?

Labour target seats

Labour needed 68 more seats to win an outright majority at the last election - these are the seats they came closest to winning.

Consitutency Party Votes needed Working age claimants
 North Warwickshire  Con  54  6640
 Thurrock  Con  92  10270
 Hendon  Con  106  8710
 Cardiff North  Con  194  5540
 Sherwood  Con  214  8210
 Norwich South  Lib Dem  310  9260
 Stockton South  Con  332  8140
 Lancaster & Fleetwood  Con  333  6840
 Bradford East  Lib Dem  365  14860
 Broxtowe  Con  389  6010
 Amber Valley  Con  536  7360
 Woverhampton South West  Con  691  8910
 Waveney  Con  769  9730
 Carlisle  Con  853  7690
 Morecambe & Lunesdale  Con  866  8650
 Weaver Vale  Con  991  7780
 Lincoln  Con  1058  10440
 Plymouth Sutton & Devonport  Con  1149  13060
 Brighton, Pavilion  Green  1252  7490
 Stroud  Con  1299  5370
 Brighton, Kemptown  Con  1328  9390
 Brent Central  Lib Dem  1345  14650
 Bedford  Con  1353  9330
 Watford  Con  1425  6990
 Arfon  Plaid  1455  4940
 Dewsbury  Con  1526  9750
 Warrington South  Con  1553  6650
 Pudsey  Con  1569  4890
 Enfield North  Con  1692  10010
 Burnley  Lib Dem  1818  10490
 Dundee East  SNP  1821  8530
 Hove  Con  1868  7700
 Manchester, Withington  Lib Dem  1894  7970
 Corby  Con  1895  8730
 Northampton North  Con  1936  7060
 Brentford & Isleworth  Con  1958  8320
 Hastings & Rye  Con  1993  12190
 Halesowen & Rowley Regis  Con  2023  8050
 Nuneaton  Con  2069  8290
 Ipswich  Con  2079  10210
 Blackpool North & Cleveleys  Con  2150  10200
 East Dunbartonshire  Lib Dem  2184  4180
 Bury North  Con  2243  7960
 Gloucester  Con  2420  10300
 Wirral West  Con  2436  5090
 Kingswood  Con  2445  5090
 Erewash  Con  2501  8030
 City of Chester  Con  2583  6930
 Croydon Central  Con  2879  10220
 Keighley  Con  2940  7770
 Worcester  Con  2982  7640
 Birmingham, Yardley  Lib Dem  3002  13780
 Cannock Chase  Con  3195  8500
 Harrow East  Con  3403  6240
 Carmarthen West & South Pembrokeshire  Con  3243  6710
 Argyll & Bute  Lib Dem  3431  6660
 Carmarthen East & Dinefwr  Plaid  3481  6370
 Warwick & Leamington  Con  3513  5510
 South Swindon  Con  3544  8000
 Stevenage  Con  3578  7340
 Pendle  Con  3585  8750
 Ealing Central & Acton  Con  3716  8460
 Loughborough  Con  3744  6080
 Edinburgh West  Lib Dem  3803  6140
 Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale & Tweeddale  Con  4194  6350
 Vale of Glamorgan  Con  4307  8880
 Elmet & Rothwell  Con  4521  5190
 Norwich North  Con  4677  7330






























































Conservative target seats

The Conservatives needed an extra 20 seats to win outright at the last election.

Constituency Party Votes needed Working age claimants
 Hampstead & Kilburn  Labour  42  9730
 Bolton West  Labour  92  7960
 Solihull Lib Dem  175  5110
 Southampton, Itchen  Labour  192  9110
 Mid Dorset & North Poole  Lib Dem  269  3750
 Wirral South  Labour  531  5200
 Derby North  Labour  613  8440
 Dudley North  Labour  649  9500
 Great Grimsby  Labour  714  11700
Wells Lib Dem 800  6710
 Telford  Labour  978  10450
 Walsall North  Labour  990  12510
Morley & Outwood Labour 1101  6780
Birmingham, Edgbaston Labour 1274  10470
 St Austell & Newquay  Lib Dem  1312  9020
 Halifax  Labour  1472  11550
 Newcastle-under-Lyme  Labour  1552  7290
Sutton & Cheam Lib Dem 1608  4780
Wakefield Labour 1613  9290
 Middlesborough South & East Cleveland  Labour  1677  9930
Somerton & Frome Lib Dem 1817  5590

Lib Dem target seats

Below is a selection of seats the Lib Dems came close to winning at the last election.

Constituency Party Votes needed Working age claimants
 Camborne & Redruth  Con  66 8210
 Oldham East & Saddleworth  Labour  103 10100
Sheffield Central Labour 165 9920
 Oxford West & Abingdon  Con  176 4110
 Ashfield  Labour  192 10870
 Edinburgh South  Labour  316 5120
 Truro & Falmouth  Con  435 6230
Swansea West Labour 504 8590
 Newton Abbot  Con  523 5910
 Chesterfield  Labour  549 9620
 Kingston-upon-Hull North  Labour  641 12140
 Rochdale  Labour  889 13740
 Harrogate & Knaresborough  Con  1039 4580
Montgomeryshire Con 1184 4290
 Watford  Labour  1425 6990
 Newport East Labour  1650 8800
 Edinburgh North & Leith  Labour  1724 8600
 St Albans  Con  2305 4600
Hereford & South Herefordshire  Con 2481 6460
 Weston-Super-Mare  Con  2691 9630
 Torridge & West Devon  Con  2957 6700




#46 ray white 2015-01-15 13:37
voting conservative/li bdem ? who has benefited from this government on average earnings, unemployed, sick and disabled and pensioners

all children-better education-bette r schools no-
higher levels of education costs-yes
children-health increased-no-ch ild poverty increased -yes
child welfare increased-no- decrease in welfare spending

Disabled welfare increased-no- welfare staff and money cut
improved standard of living-no -food, clothing, everyday essentials have all increased above the retail price and cpi price index-another tory invention
wage increases are below the average inflation over the last five years. and ofc the works and pensions Atos debacle which is still ongoing
healthcare - increased waiting time to see doctors and specialists longer treatment times
average worker- increased income tax benefit-yes
increase tax payment yes-vat-kind of cancels out income tax benefit-increas ed cost of living over 5 years greater than wage increase-
increased rail fares above inflation and wages, increased vat for new vehicles/ sevicing road tax etc.
all the heath issues above-yes
unemployed-welfare-wrag zero hours contracts, wrag. jobseekers allowance-sanct ions-have they improved people into full time employment- no-
pensioners earning state pensions -increases- kept up with the cost of living- no-winter fuel allowance increased no-
health as above
welfare -no -cuts to welfare budget
So who have benefited
Obviously those 'earning' enough to pay only 45 pence in the pound income tax and all those who earn above the 40 pence in the pound
here is why as a 20 pence in the pound tax payer -you get tax relief of 20p to £ for any pension that you contribute to. A person earning over the 45p to £ tax claims 45p for every pound that they pay to pension fund to a limit set by the revenue same applies to the 40p
tax pay coalition are in it together and it`s poo
+1 #45 Connie 2015-01-15 01:35
if State Benefit claimants refrain from voting, it will count as a vote FOR the current murderous government we have.Every person that abstains goes in con-dems favour so DONT abstain.
+1 #44 tinytim 2015-01-14 19:22
Labour has already commited to end the bedroom tax and even though I hated new labour they still introduced a minimum wage, and now new labour is dead I will be voting for them in 2015 as they have said they will not be using the computer accessment anymore and make it more human and fairer.
Also they have said zero hours contracts will end under them so we will have to judge them if they get elected.
+2 #43 justiceforall 2014-01-17 15:58
As a follow-up to my comment #37 (and thanks to all respondents), I did not have room to say that the one Conservative MP in Scotland out of the total of 59 would not have altered the fact that, without Scotland, the Tories would have got their parliamentary majority at the last election.

However, even if all us benefits recipients do actually vote at the next General Election, it will make little difference to the result if many of us vote for minority parties that would not have changed the outcomes in the marginal constituencies at the last election that Beneifts and Work have highlighted. So, even if some of us fervently support parties that have at present a minority support and at the next election are unlikely, barring miracles, to get actually elected, this will not effect the first and most important change that we need, which is to get rid of the Tories. Notice that Benefits and Work show tables that indicate how close Labour or Liberal came to wresting seats from the Tory victors. Tories will always vote, and vote Tory, so, unless the Labour or, as applicable, Liberal candidates in these constituencies are given more voting support, the Tories will again win power. And, if Scotland leaves the Union later this year, they are more likely to do so, because the overwhelming Scottish anti-Tory electorate will no longer be available to counter the Tory bias in the rest of the UK.
+1 #42 Bill 2014-01-17 15:34
Paul, very nicely put and well reasoned.

Especially correct is the fact you refer to ''people listen to the lies spouted out by the other three parties'' and I would add to that comment the fact that those same lies are also spouted by my pet hate, the newspaper Barons.

Lets be honest, the newspapers have painted UKIP as a bunch of looney losers and will continue to do so as the majority of newspapers are owned by Tories and are supporters of the Tory Party.

Lest anyone forget.... those newspapers who paint UKIP in this fashion are the same newspapers that paint all of us on welfare benefits as good for nothing scroungers, too lazy to work, and always willing to accept handouts and commit criminal acts.

When you read the newspapers its important to think what is behind the headlines in my opinion.
+1 #41 annken 2014-01-17 15:33
I too am completely disillusioned with Labour. the sick disabled and the poor have no champion now and Labour are frightened to support us for fear of loosing the next election, loosing the 'middle class vote', Well you in the middle class if you need to earn a living you are 'working class' and can become ill and loose your job anytime and without independent means you too will need benefits. Until you experience the process of claiming benefits you have no idea how humiliating and degrading it is. Shame on all politicians especially David Cameron for letting IDS stay in post for so Long.
#40 Paul 2014-01-17 13:12
Peter, under UKIP the needy will indeed be protected and this will be determined by your local doctor. The Lab/Tory/Dem method of putting the vulnerable in front of a non medical person and automatically dismissed out of hand and then making it almost impossible to appeal, does not seem very nice to me? What do you think Peter?, putting your Labour affiliation to one side for a minute. Regards to the Wythenhawe election, I take it you read the piece? The sudden and sad death of the local MP and with a quick election needed, we can only put forward someone who has already been vetted and approved, which you should know? Somebody cannot just say I want to run as an MP and then get on with it. It appears the same scrutiny is not done properly within the Labour Party. It is true we do not currently have an MP, mainly down to the fact that people listen to the lies spouted out by the other three parties, but that is changing as people are waking up. More people voted for UKIP throughout 2013 than any other party in Council and By-elections. The time has come for change and only UKIP will protect the vulnerable, our disability spokeswomen Star Etheridge is disabled herself and fights daily for those going through the outrageous ATOS assessment introduced to you by Labour. Vote UKIP and you can be safe in the knowledge, that the only assessment you will need is by a real Doctor.
-2 #39 Peawack 2014-01-17 12:39
UKIP will need at least one MP to get a voice in parliament. At the moment they have none. Their manifesto contains the line ' Make welfare a safety net for the needy, not a bed for the lazy'. Grand sentiment, but can you imagine how Farrage might determine who is needy and who is lazy ? That is a frightening thought ! According to the Telegraph UKIP have 'stitched up' their selection process for the forthcoming by-election by preventing a local UKIP member from standing. Democracy ? What a joke they are.
-1 #38 Paul 2014-01-16 22:29
I also congratulate Benefits & Work, they do indeed do a fantastic job. Regarding continuing to vote for Labour, reminds me of the quote from Einstein, "Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again but expecting different results." There is catagorically no chance whatsoever that Labour will reverse either the bedroom tax or ATOS, which they introduced in the first place! UKIP are the ONLY party who will protect the vulnerable and our welfare state and get rid of the bedroom tax and ATOS.
+2 #37 justiceforall 2014-01-16 21:23
I congratulate Benefits and Work for doing the vital and extremely informative research which shows that if a good number of us benefits clamants actually vote at the next General Election, the despicable Tories and their dumbell sidekicks shall be wiped out. Yes, the Labour Party is hardly an ideal alternative, but it has to be considered the better option out of a bad lot, for history shows that no matter how rotten the Labour Party is, the Tories will ALWAYS be much much worse. I sincerely hope that when the next election becomes imminent that Benefits and Work reminds all of us how VITAL it is that we all VOTE against the Tories, and encourage disabled people to REGISTER FOR A POSTAL VOTE should they be unable to attend the polling booths.

Although the Labour Party was rightly despised for doing much of the preliminary dirty work which the Tories have continued, and with a vengeance, it must be remembered that it was led by that nasty piece of work, Gordon Brown and his interminable "work" mantra, and that they initiated the ending of Incapacity Benefit and the reassessment for ESA, among other retributive measures. But, he is now gone, and as Benefits and Work have suggested, if it becomes known that we claimants decide to ditch our apathy regarding voting at all, and instead use the substantial voting power that is latent within us, the change that will be effected in the political map of Britain will mean that politicians, even those elected to power, will be forced to take note and moderate their policies.

There is one potential problem, however, and that is the effect on the balance of the resulting political power in England and Wales should Scotland vote for Independence. The Tories won 306 seats at the last election. They needed 326 for an overall majority. If Scotland becomes independent, the 59 less seats (from 650) means a majority is reached with 296 seats. Thus, the Tories' 306 seats would have sufficed.
-1 #36 Rockhorse 2014-01-16 18:04
I will be voting Labour and did so at the last election. They have already committed to abolition of the Bedroom Tax (Under-Occupati on Penalty) and have spoken publicly of sacking Atos. I hope that they will show themselves to be serious about these matters and that they will also be serious about a real investment in building much more council, and other social, housing.
#35 Paul 2014-01-16 14:14
Peter, there is only one Party that will end ATOS and that is UKIP. Labor brought them in and they will never end the contract. Lab/Tory/Dem are just EU puppets, they do what they are told, hence why they do not oppose anything that the Tories bring in. Holland have stopped welfare and this is coming to the UK very soon, if we do not get out of the EU. Anyone who votes Labour are in fact helping to end the welfare system in the UK, how many of you could survive without any benefits? Vote UKIP!
+4 #34 Tabbycat 2014-01-16 14:09
I suggest as many of the disabled electorate as possible register for postal voting before the next General Election.
+2 #33 John 2014-01-16 13:33
Many are very disenchanted at the political offerings and proffer this as a reason for not voting. However if you wish to register this disenchantment you can still use your vote to send a signal by "spoiling" your ballot paper. They are counted and of course if people in sufficient numbers did this it would send the political classes into a deep quandary. Whilst people "cannot be bothered" to vote for a party or spoil a ballot, they political class merely has to pay lip service. Personally I always vote for a political party. Many are correct that Labour are not blameless here and you had the likes of Anne McGuire MP standing up for the policy implementation as Minister for the Disabled. I agree that Labour need more detailed policy in this area and it needs to come soon so that voters have a change to hold it to account.
#32 Jona 2014-01-16 09:10
I have a suggestion for all the people who think Labour will support the disabled and get rid of ATOS and the "Bedroom tax" Write a letter to your Labour MP with a simple contract worded "If elected will you sack ATOS and only let NHS professionals judge disability and fitness to work. And will you abolish the bedroom tax" And ask them to sign it.
Do the same with your PPC for the UKIP.
+4 #31 Peter 2014-01-16 07:47
perhaps we should vote for the party that will
cancel ATOS and remove esa totally and rely on GP reports, and if they agree to take out the civil servants who have fully supported IDS and have degraded the fact to be ill or sick as lazy and need to work attitude, and publicly flog them or make them live in a wheelchairs for months, with no pint of remission perhaps that party will win the next election because they would get my vote
+2 #30 Bill 2014-01-16 07:19
Personally, I am glad to read some of the comments here that show there are members who see, and more importantly remember,that the Labour Party have let down the working class, the sick and disabled and have had numerous chances to help us but they have avoided doing so.

I just hope everyone who has any kind of memory at all will bear that in mind come election time.

I am no Tory lover, I have never and will never vote Tory, I am working class and I have done my bit for 40 years before getting ill but....... do I feel I can trust Labour to help and support me in future?

Quite simply no, I cannot trust them.

Until the Labour Party start saying things and doing things that demonstrate they are what they used to be, what they started out as being, or something of a modern day equivalent to thast Party, they will not get mine or my families votes.

I am not commenting to be argumentative, just giving my personal view thats all.
+1 #29 swanlake 2014-01-16 03:21
I forgot to say that I voted Labour in London in 2010 (in a safe Lib Dem seat) but will be a new Labour vote in Ipswich in 2015. I don't understand how Ipswich voted in a Tory after being Labour for so long!!
+1 #28 swanlake 2014-01-16 03:17
I'll always vote Labour. Five years of a Conservative-le d govt has been frightening, another five would be devastating to Britain. We are coming full circle back to Victorian times where the poor, the sick, the vulnerable are vilified and blamed for their situation by the rich landlowners! The only way to stop this is by voting for a Labour government. UKIP are wolves in sheep's clothing and even further to the right than the Tories.
-1 #27 Jona 2014-01-15 22:32
Are only Labour supporting comments allowed!? If so I am out of here it was Labour who gave ATOS the contract!!

You need to be logged in to comment

Subscribe Now

Get Instant Access to all our guides