Green Party work and pensions spokesperson Jonathan Bartley has demanded an ‘immediate halt’ to the government’s Work Capability Assessments for those claiming Employment and Support Allowance, Incapacity Benefit or Severe Disablement Allowance.
His call comes in response to figures released today by the Department for Work and Pensions that show 81,140 people claiming ESA, IB or SDA died between December 2011 and February 2014. Of those, 4,010 (4.94%) had been deemed ‘fit for work’ following their WCA.
Meanwhile, of the 50,580 people who died while claiming ESA during the same period, 7,200 (14%) were placed in a work-related activity group designed to help prepare them for work.
There should be an immediate halt to the Work Capability Assessment. It is now clear that tens of thousands have died within a year of being put through it, with thousands of these people placed in work-related activity groups or certified as ‘fit for work’. These decisions are inhumane and this mortality rate is a national scandal.
These tragic statistics expose the fundamental flaw in the government’s approach to the sick and disabled. It is unacceptable that a massive 14% of those who died within a year of their WCA were forced into a work-related activity group, and almost one in 20 were deemed ‘fit for work’, meaning they were forced to spend their final months seeking or preparing for employment.
The government needs to stop treating the sick and disabled as ‘scroungers’ out to rob the state, and instead apply some humanity and provide these people with the care and support they need.”