The Office for Statistics Regulation (OSR) is demanding to know why the pass and fail rates for the WCA for universal credit are still secret, nine years after the benefit was introduced. The question is becoming ever more pressing as 1.7 million ESA claimants are due to be forcibly transferred to UC by the end of 2024.
The proportion of claimants who are found to be capable of work or to have limited capability for work (LCW) or for work-related activity (LCWRA) have been regularly published for ESA since 2010.
Yet the same figures have never been published for UC, ever since the benefit was introduced.
As far back as 2017 the government promised that UC WCA statistics would soon be available but still none have been provided and there is no longer any indication that they will be.
The Disability News Service has been pursuing the DWP over its lack of openness on the subject for some time and approached the OSR for help.
The OSR have now written to the DWP asking why the figures have not been published, saying:
“Users have a continued and unfulfilled need for WCA statistics since the rollout of Universal Credit as most new claimants are excluded from the ESA WCA statistics. It is not clear from what is publicly available, what, if any, plans are in place to address this and when they are anticipated to be completed. We expect statistics producers to be clear and transparent in their decision making, and to include reasons why gaps in reporting remain.”
The concern is that UC claimants may be less likely to be found to be in the LCW or LCWRA groups for UC than they are for ESA, even though the tests are virtually identical, and that the DWP is covering this up. The lack of transparency over this issue will only add to the concerns of people waiting to be forcibly moved onto UC.
The DWP say they will respond in due course and will make the correspondence public.
The probability, however, is extremely high that their reply will simply be more of the untruths and prevarication that the DWP is now renowned for.