Years of misery for claimants, and millions of pounds spent on rushed assessments, have reduced the number of claimants receiving employment and support allowance (ESA) or incapacity benefit (IB) by just 3%.{jcomments on}

The latest DWP statistics, released today, show that the claimant count for ESA/IB has fallen by just 83,000 since the Coalition took control in May 2010, from 2,613,000 to 2,530,000, and is currently on the increase again.ESA statistics graph

In that time, millions of claimants have endured the anxiety of waiting in a massive backlog for their work capability assessment, to decide whether they were eligible to move from IB to ESA. The health of many claimants has deteriorated as a result of delayed and inaccurate medicals and the work capability assessment (WCA) has been linked to a number of claimant deaths.

Indeed, the standard of the assessments that took place as the Coalition tried to rush through the mass migration of claimants was so controversial that Atos were replaced by Maximus last month, for a fee that is now more than double, though the test remains the same.

The tiny fall in awards would almost certainly have happened without mass migration from IB to ESA, in any case, as IB/ESA awards had dropped from a high of 2.78 million in November 2003 to 2.61 million in February 2010.

It is only since the Coalition took control of the DWP that IB/ESA awards, having initially fallen, have begun a remorseless rise since the summer of 2013.

But these statistics will not be ones you will hear IDS, or any other coalition minister, talking about between now and 7 May.

You can download the April statistical summary from this link


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