My Intervention on the Ministerial Statement- Work Capability Assessment Consultation

John Redwood (Wokingham) (Con):
I strongly support the initiative to help more people who are long-term sick and disabled into work where they wish to do that. My query is: why on earth is it going to take so long? We need to be doing this now, to ease our workplace shortages and to give those people earlier support and hope. Will my right hon. Friend please work with his officials to speed it all up?

Mel Stride, Secretary of State for Work and Pensions:
I share my right hon. Friend’s keenness to see these proposals—whatever may or may not emerge—come forward as soon as possible. They will require a lot of work on IT systems and changes to systems. The providers will have to incorporate the changes that may or not come forward as a result of this consultation. Let me reassure him that, given the benefits there will be to many people who will otherwise not benefit from work, I am as anxious as he is to make sure that we move forward at speed.


  1. R.Grange
    September 9, 2023

    Oh right, so vitally necessary things can only be done as and when the IT nerds feel like changing their systems, and they take as long as they want to do so. I get it. It looks like the danger isn’t coming from computers taking over our lives, but from those who programme the computers.

  2. Sir Joe Soap
    September 9, 2023

    Oh well, at least we’ve moved on from Covid as an excuse for sloath. It’d be good to have more information about the software changes involved in unticking the #automatically qualifies for benefits# box.

  3. Bryan Harris
    September 9, 2023

    That’s what is called using bureaucracy to drive positive change at a snails pace.

    They know what is required, why initiate a consultation – Have the ‘provider’ ready by getting the most likely changes tested on development mainframes.

  4. Peter
    September 9, 2023

    What about the economically inactive people who have no wish to work ?

    How do they manage? Can they be brought back into the workplace?

    What about those incapable of work that get passed as ‘fit to work’ by the various agencies the state employ.

  5. Donna
    September 9, 2023

    Slightly off topic (except so many have failed to return to work after the Covid Tyranny for various reasons):

    The Government has another of its very quiet “Consultations” which some regulars on this site may wish to contribute to. It relates to “Disclosure of Industry Payments to the Healthcare Sector” (ie Big Pharma funding the Public Health Sector).

  6. Nigl
    September 9, 2023

    Sums up this useless government. How many years has it had to sort this and Stride is saying 2025.

    In any event proposals that won’t make much difference. Life coaches/skills/help with job finding.

    You fail to understand most do not want to work, either comfortable on benefit or the difference between losing benefit and what work gives is not worth the effort.

    The only incentive is to reduce benefit to make it uncomfortable and then you will be accused of sending people to food banks.

    Like the NHS addicted to ever more money. Failure to sort this umpteen years ago now makes it too late to change.

    1. Narrow Shoulders
      September 9, 2023

      You could also make benefits time limited. Would still be accused of starving “the children” and sending slackers to food banks but the defence would be that it’s a safety net not a life choice

  7. formula57
    September 9, 2023

    Why does the Minister make this change seem so difficult? “Consultations” and “a lot of work on IT systems” portend endless delay and generous cost overruns.

    Rather a “can do” attitude is needed since, very clearly, “We need to be doing this now, to ease our workplace shortages and to give those people earlier support and hope”. The people who can benefit cannot afford Ministerial dithering, especially from a government on its last legs with a record of betrayal.

  8. turboterrier
    September 9, 2023

    Speed the process up?
    Throw away the soft ball and get a hard one. Push has to go to shove.
    Announce that there will be a new initiative starting in two months and that is benefits are going onto a reducing sliding scale to take in account not only all their benefits but all the other perks that they are entitled to. Create, manufacture a situation where it is far more beneficial to work.
    There will a heck of a lot of severely people who cannot work and must be supported but 80% must be capable of some form of employment.
    Like with the invaders take away the lure of a freebies existance.

  9. Elli
    September 9, 2023

    There has to be a stick and carrot approach, those who do not cooperate (don’t answer phone, don’t respond to letters, don’t appear to scheduled meetings etc.) must have their benefits halved and then cancelled.
    People who fail their interviews for work using obvious subterfuges (appear drunk, unsanitary etc.) will be warned and then have their benefits removed in stages.
    Mental issues, judged by a panel, must go to work or lose benefits.
    We have to stop this or we will be sunk by the benefit scroungers.

  10. Christine
    September 9, 2023

    Stop giving financial rewards to obese people. The number of morbidly obese people, mainly women, I see is alarming. I know DWP tried to stop obesity from being used as a criterion for claiming disability benefits and was overruled by the EU. Now we are out, reinstate it. In fact, introduce a BMI tax rather than targeting the whole population with your sugar tax. You tax everything else.

  11. Christine
    September 9, 2023

    “where they wish to do that”

    No, don’t give them a choice. If they are fit to do certain jobs then make them return to work. And close all the loopholes where you are paying people living abroad without them requiring any medical assessments. Or was this part of your dreadful Withdrawal Agreement, whereby foreigners can milk our benefit system for evermore?

  12. Christine
    September 9, 2023

    “They will require a lot of work on IT systems and changes to systems.”

    Yet the Government has wasted time and millions of pounds allowing Scotland to divorce from the GB DWP benefit systems, setting up its own rules and schemes which will lead to massive fraud as claimants apply in both countries. You couldn’t make up the incompetence of this government.

    I’m not sure what changes he needs to make to computer systems as they only apply the assessment from the details entered. No doubt he will be dreaming up another complex set of rules that will be impossible to implement.

    1. Mickey Taking
      September 9, 2023

      Why on earth can’t we just figure out what work is there and give it out, with a warning that partial benefits may need to be reduced over time? Get’em working first, worry about the small beer money later. We are spending north of £130bn on HS2, what was it £50bn on slow track and fail to trace?, £15bn on countries that may also have space and nuclear capabilities. Priorities for God’s sake.
      We certainly are not a ‘can do’ nation.

  13. Cheshire Girl
    September 9, 2023

    I believe that this is now going to be delayed until after the next General Election.

    I suspect that the Government is doing this because they are worried that they will lose votes, I seem to recall that last time they tried to do it, there was a big outcry from the usual suspects Ie: Charities and Campaigners
    We know that there are a significant amount of people on benefits, who are able to work, and are taking advantage of the new malady – Mental Health.
    I don’t think we will ever get a handle on this – its got too big,

  14. John McDonald
    September 9, 2023

    Dear Sir John I spotted in your statement “If they wish to do so”
    I think this can only apply to a physically disabled person. It must be said it is amazing to see how disabled people make a very big effort to do some paid work and even unpaid work even if not full time.
    If you can get state benefits equivalent to paid work (and you are able bodied) or even more than paid work, then you would be mad to take on a job that does not have any interest in it apart from earning a wage.
    Our liberal elite have destroyed the work ethic that the majority of people had even into the 1970’s.
    At the same time the needs of the individual became more important than the society at large. Up until this time people looked after themselves but also had a thought for society in general. Not working was not looked on favourably by most people. Even for the young. If you want a bit more pocket money get a Saturday job. You had a responsibility to look after yourself but if you got into difficulties the state would help. This was the group think at that time and unquestioned by the left or right.

    1. Peter
      September 9, 2023


      Until the late 1970s there was plenty of work available. Mass unemployment then arrived. Attitudes change when you cannot find a job anymore.

      1. John McDonald
        September 10, 2023

        That was 53 years ago, what’s the justification for not looking for a job now ?
        We are told there is a staff shortage now. Lot’s of low paid jobs available which have to be done, and important , but if can get more by not working why get a job. I think this is the current feeling and not caused by mass unemployment

  15. Joan Sawyers
    September 9, 2023

    Can you please explain why governments always go after the sick and disabled (which is fair enough if they have the capability to work) but never seem to target those who are totally able to work but just find is easier, or more worthwhile, not to.

  16. forthurst
    September 9, 2023

    The computer says no. I assume the problem is that disability benefits are the responsibility of a different department to in work benefits. Further, the government departments will have outsourced their computer functions to professional gougers. The government and civil service with their ridiculous Arts degrees are completely out of their depth when trying to engage with the modern world on behalf of the taxpayer.

Comments are closed.