In February I reviewed the figures for ESA assessments. At that time, 1,023,000 people had been reassessed, and 622,000 (61%) had been found fit for work. However, many of those found fit for work, whose appeals had been heard, had appealed successfully. Today new figures have been published that put the numbers found fit for work at 34% of those reassessed. The DWP press release gives a slightly higher figure, for the last three months available.
This does not mean that the decisions are now all right, but it does mean that they are not as wildly off-beam as they were at this time last year.
Further note, November 7th: The Independent has run with a more negative view of these figures, pointing to the supposition that 75% of claimants may be able in time to return to work. That is not necessarily contentious; most people with mental illnesses, for example, can reasonably hope that their illness will not incapacitate them forever, and many people with disabling conditions would not like to suppose that they will never work again. The central criterion for receiving Employment and Support Allowance in the leigslation is that people are entitled when it is not reasonable to expect them to work now. What’s troubling about the way that the legislation is being implemented is that people are being subjected to work tests even when it’s accepted that those tests cannot be reasonably applied.