After years of refusing to do so, the DWP have finally bowed to pressure and published statistics showing the outcome of work capability assessments (WCAs) for universal credit (UC). The figures show that the proportion placed in the support group for UC and for employment and support allowance (ESA) are virtually identical at around 65%.
UC WCA outcomes
The figures released by the DWP cover the period from April 2019 to March 2023.
They reveal that at March 2023, 1.7 million people were on UC health compared to 1.3 million a year earlier.
In March 2023, more than a quarter (29%) of people on UC had a health condition or disability restricting their ability to work – up 5 percentage points from March 2022
1.9 million UC WCA decisions have been made.
65% have limited capability for work and work-related activity (LCWRA) – the UC equivalent of the support group
19% have limited capability for work (LCW),
16% had no limited capability for work and therefore are no longer on UC health,
The proportion of decisions for LCWRA remained stable at 65% in the quarter ending February 2022 and 64% in the quarter ending February 2023
ESA UC outcomes
In the quarter to December 2022, the percentage of DWP decisions for initial WCAs falling into each category was:
65% placed in the Support Group
12% placed in the Work Related Activity Group
22% were found Fit for Work
So, the proportion going into the support group was virtually the same for ESA and the WCA.
The proportion found to have limited capability for work was lower for ESA and the proportion found fit for work was higher for ESA.
Why the secrecy?
The release of these figures leaves us wondering why on earth have the DWP fought to keep the UC statistics secret for so long?
There was nothing to hide, so far as we can tell.
Is it simply that the DWP fight to keep everything they possibly can hidden, because it is easier for them to work in the shadows with as little public scrutiny as possible?
That way, we never know whether they are keeping secrets because their actions have caused real harm or simply because they always keep secrets, even when they don’t need to.