Scrap capability assessments to ‘change social security culture’ says Labour

27 Sep 16
Labour would scrap Work Capability Assessments and the sanctions system for jobseekers as part what shadow work and pensions secretary Debbie Abrahams called a plan to change the culture of the UK’s social security system.

Abrahams said that the fit to work assessments, which determine eligibility for Employment and Support Allowance and have been criticised by MPs on the Public Accounts Committee, would be replaced with personalised, holistic support. Putting individuals on a tailored plan would build on individuals’ strengths and address barriers to work in “a fairer way”, she told delegates at Labour’s conference in Liverpool.

“For those unable to work through illness or disability, we need to transform our social security system to one that is efficient, responsive, and provides basic support,” said Abrahams.

“I want to change the culture of our social security system and how the public see it. I believe that, like the NHS, it is based on principles of inclusion, support and security for all, assuring us of our dignity and the basics of life were we to fall on hard times or become incapacitated, giving us a hand up, not a hand out.”

Labour would revise the sanctions regime for jobseekers who do not meet targets in their job hunt. Abrahams said Job Centre Plus and employment support providers’ performance will not just be assessed on how many people they get off their books.

Abrahams also reiterated the party’s pledge to end the so-called bedroom tax.

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