The work capability assessment (WCA) is “too harsh” Iain Duncan Smith, former work and pensions minister and architect of universal credit and personal independence payment has claimed.
IDS told a meeting organised by the Spectator magazine last week that, when he was secretary of state, he realised that the test for incapacity for work forced claimants to make a “cliff edge” choice between full-time work or not working at all.
IDS claims that he carried out five reviews of the WCA but that it remained ineffective.
“It was quite obvious to us that the system was far too narrow, was acting in a far too harsh manner and was making judgements about people.
“The whole process of having a benefit that says you are either too sick to work or you can work, actually works against the nature of how people think of themselves.
“I came to the conclusion that it was time to review the whole way we do this and remove the cliff edge.”
“The cliff edge tempts people to make wrong declarations. And it means that whatever assessment you’re making becomes very critical, which adds extra stress,” IDS claimed.
According to IDS, a system which allowed people to be found fit for work for just a certain number of hours a week would be more effective.