spotCommittee for a Workers International


spotLabour Party

spotLeft and radical


spotNationalist and National Liberation

spotPro capitalist and Imperialist


spotSocial Networks

spotSocialist Party


spotTrade Union

spotVoluntary & non-profit

All keywords

Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

Commercial keywords:

A4e (9)

Agricultural (7)

Amazon (3)

Arriva Rail North (4)

Art (53)

Atos (10)

BAE (6)

BP (42)

Balfour Beatty (22)

Bombardier (9)

Care UK (9)

City Link (9)

Coca-cola (4)

Conocophillips (5)

Coryton (7)

Crown (10)

DLR (6)

Drug companies (16)

EDF Energy (8)

East Coast mainline (3)

Fannie Mae (1)

Ferries (9)

Finance (36)

First Bus (9)

First Great Western (5)

Freddie Mac (1)

G4s (14)

Gama (5)

Glencore (2)

Goldman Sachs (11)

HSBC (13)

Hovis (11)

ICL Plastics (2)

Jet (4)

John Lewis (4)

Kone (6)

Lloyds (3)

McDonalds (20)

Media (118)

Medirest (12)

Merseyrail (20)

Mmp (6)

Morrisons (5)

National Express (7)

News International (34)

Northern Rock (32)

Picturehouse (5)

Press (57)

Print (8)

RBS (17)

Rail (266)

Remploy (49)

Retail (28)

Rolls Royce (8)

Royal Bank of Scotland (7)

Rural (6)

Shipbuilding (4)

Shipping (2)

Sotheby (2)

St Mungos (2)

St Mungos Broadway (4)

Tesco (61)

Thera (5)

Trains (51)

Tyneside Safety Glass (5)

Uber (9)

Ucs (1)

Unilever (15)

Virgin (28)

Winterbourne (3)

WorldCom (2)


Highlight keywords  |Print this articlePrint this article
From: The Socialist issue 832, 5 November 2014: Cold, cruel cuts: Fight the Con-Dem attacks

Search site for keywords: Employment and Support Allowance - Cuts - ESA - Benefits - JSA - DWP - Claimants - Atos

The Con-Dems' Machiavellian cuts

Tony Aitman, Advice worker

Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), a replacement for Incapacity Benefit, was introduced in 2008 for paying benefits to those too ill to work or with a disability.

One of the aspects of ESA is that it is a benefit for people with long term illnesses or disabilities. Typically, this means that someone on ESA will have higher expenses than others. This has been recognised by making the rate of ESA higher than Jobseeker's Allowance (JSA).

On ESA, those in the Work Related Activity Group (Wrag) currently get 28.75 more. Now, leaked reports from the government suggest that they are considering reducing this to only 50p a week more, as part of a plan to cut billions off the welfare bill, which already includes freezing benefits for two years.


To qualify for ESA, claimants must go through a work assessment interview, previously carried out by the disgraced Atos company. There can be three outcomes of this: you could be found fit for work and told to claim JSA; you could be found to have limited capability for work and put in Wrag; or you could be put in the support group.

Thousands who were either denied benefit or put in the wrong group have had the decisions overturned on appeal. The cost of appeals has tripled to 66 million in three years.

Last year, over 40% of appeals against Atos decisions were successful. That figure has dropped, not through better decision making but because the government has introduced new measures to prevent those on benefit from receiving it.

Previously, if you disagreed with a decision, you could go straight to appeal. Now, you have to ask for a Mandatory Reconsideration - where the decision is looked at again by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) decision maker.

Of course, you can't claim benefit while the Mandatory Reconsideration is being made, so claimants are driven into absolute poverty, forced to go to charities just to get vouchers for food.

Additionally, someone on ESA or JSA can also receive Housing Benefit. However, if it is stopped, Housing Benefit also stops, with the threat of homelessness.

At the agency where I work, the typical homeless person we saw in the past was an older man, with either drug or drink problems. Now, increasingly, it is younger people, having no benefits or driven out of their homes by the 'bedroom tax'.

There is an extra Machiavellian twist to the government's benefits cuts. A claimant denied ESA receives no benefit while the Mandatory Reconsideration is being considered. And the DWP's advice? Claim JSA in the meantime.

However, to claim JSA means that the claimant is admitting that they are looking for and capable of work - and therefore ineligible for ESA!

Benefits claimants are given a programme by the DWP, outlining how many jobs they have to apply for each week. If they fail to meet these conditions, they are sanctioned - their benefits are stopped, often for indefinite periods. Particularly hard hit by this are those with mental health problems.

Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Related links:

Employment and Support Allowance:

triangleDWP to outsource more work to Capita

triangleThe Socialist Inbox

triangleCanterbury Socialist Party attends 'I, Daniel Blake' film night

triangleFood banks and the real Daniel Blakes

triangleThe Socialist Inbox


triangleCorbyn's Labour needs 100% anti-cuts strategy and fight for democracy

triangleWe must fight all council cuts!

triangleNHS crisis: under pressure from all angles - end cuts and sell-offs!

triangleCardiff Socialist Party: Why Labour and Plaid councils must set no-cuts budgets


triangleThem & Us

triangleDisabled activists shame tory cutters


triangleTory prescription for mental illness: stress and bureaucracy

triangleTwo in five 'right to buy' homes now for let


triangleESA under the cosh


triangleSheffield Eastern Ave Job Centre strike ends


triangleThousands live in tents and sheds - seize empty homes


triangleThem & Us