Worthing West CLP tonight voted unanimously to put forward the following Contemporary Issue to Labour Conference (25th -29th September)
Issue : Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) is unfit for purpose
Explanation : The Work Capability Assessments used to determine capability for work under ESA have been criticised by a recent Work and Pensions Select Committee, the Professor who helped to design ESA, the CAB and many charities.
Carried out by the French private healthcare company, ATOS, using a tick box computer system, tests are impersonal, innaccurate and are causing great fear and anxiety amongst sick and disabled people.
The descriptors used to define sickness or disability are far too limited.
40% of decisions are overturned at tribunal.
The coalition proposal to Time Limit ESA to one year threatens to leave 700,000 people with serious conditions without any independent state assistance if they have a partner who earns just £7,500 or more. This removes the covenant of a contributory principle that supports you if you fall. Whether a person is better or not, those in the Work Related Activity Group will lose all ESA, becoming entirely dependent on family or friends. DWP ministers have been very clear that this is purely a cost cutting measure, not related to the state of a person’s health once the year is up.
People found fit for work are dying before their appeals can be heard. ESA is a shocking failure to protect the most vulnerable members of our society and we ask conference to call on the government to halt the migration of 1.9 million Incapacity Benefit claimants onto ESA until these problems have been addressed."