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11 February 2011

The DWP has published a ‘timeline’ for work to be done by the independent Harrington review into the work capability assessment in year two.  The timeline was published just the day before the revised WCA, which makes much of Harrington’s work an irrelevance, was laid before the house.  (See:New harsher ESA medical test laid before parliament)

For example, the timeline says that Mind, Mencap and the National Autistic Society are to provide recommendations in March 2011on refining the mental health test of the WCA.  But in the same month half of all the mental health descriptors are to be ripped out of the test, regardless of the recommendations of these groups.  (See: Charities propose changes to ESA – but would they make matters worse?)

Equally, groups such as the MS Society, Parkinson’s UK and Arthritis Care are to make recommendations in June 2011 about improving descriptors in relation to fluctuating conditions and to pain.  In the meantime, however, the new harsher WCA has removed activities such as bending and kneeling from the test entirely, regardless of how much pain you experience.

The introduction of the new, much harsher WCA before either of these reports have been considered proves, beyond doubt, that Harrington is mere window dressing to distract from the savage cuts being made to the income of sick and disabled claimants.

You can download the Harrington timeline here.

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