Ipswich Unemployed Action.

Campaigning for Unemployed Rights.

Employment and Support Allowance Under Threat.

with 33 comments

Farewell to a Better Life.

The BBC reports.

Plans to scrap part of the UK’s main sickness benefit are being considered, a leaked Whitehall paper suggests.

It describes the Employment and Support Allowance as a “passive” benefit which does not “incentivise” people to find a job, and proposes abolishing the work-related activity group (WRAG) category.

If scrapped, weekly payments would drop nearly £30 from £102.15, bringing it in line with Jobseeker’s Allowance.

The Department for Work and Pensions said it did not comment on leaks.

The government is seeking to save £12bn from its welfare bill.

It is expected next week’s Budget will unveil only some of its proposed cuts, with others to be announced in the autumn spending review.

How much is Employment and Support Allowance?

Work-related activity group: Up to £102.15 a week

Support group: Up to £109.30 a week

And Jobseeker’s Allowance?

Aged 18 to 24: Up to £57.90 a week

Aged 25 or over: Up to £73.10 a week

Fit for work?

The paper seen by BBC News was written by the Department for Work and Pensions before the general election in May.

It is marked “not government policy”, but the BBC understands the proposals are still under consideration.

About two million people in the UK receive the Employment and Support Allowance, in some form.

It is paid out to disabled or sick people who are unable to work or need help getting back to work.

The Huffington Post adds some further details.

The BBC Today programme has a scoop that ministers are reviving a secret Coalition plan to cut sickness benefits. It has a leaked Whitehall paper describing the Employment and Support Allowance as a “passive” benefit which does not “incentivise” people to find a job, and proposes abolishing the work-related activity group (WRAG) category. If scrapped, weekly payments would drop nearly £30, bringing it in line with Jobseeker’s Allowance.

Charlie Pickles of the think tank Reform says change to ESA is overdue. ‘We are just not seeing people come off the benefit….we are seeing very high numbers just staying on the benefit’.

IDS was on robust form yesterday as he unveiled changes to child poverty, denying Stephen Timm’s charge that he’d read the obituary for ‘compassionate Conservativism’. Alan Milburn and Frank Field provided helpful cover. IDS had a trickier time over PA’s exclusive that he was among MPs to have their expenses cards suspended.

On the last point we learn, (BBC)

The Commons watchdog has admitted it made an error after temporarily blocking Iain Duncan Smith’s credit card, used to pay some of his expenses.

He was among 19 MPs subject to action by the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority over cards used to pay for travel and accommodation.

The Press Association reported that the work and pension secretary had run up more than £1,000 in expenses debts.

But IPSA said Mr Duncan Smith’s card had been de-activated by mistake.

A spokesman for the cabinet minister said: “Iain has not had his card suspended. Ipsa have confirmed twice in writing that this issue was an error on their part. To be clear no money is owed”.

A spokeswoman for Ipsa said: “I can confirm that the payment card in the name of Mr Duncan Smith is currently active. It was temporarily suspended in error and has since been reactivated.”

Those on benefits can only dream that DWP ‘mistakes’ were rectified so quickly. 


Written by Andrew Coates

July 2, 2015 at 9:50 am

33 Responses

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  1. Im busy running with something else currently but if you do the math it only makes 58.1 million if we assume for the sake of the calculation that those on ESA are all over 25 years of age.

    This is going to have zero impact on the proposed 12Bn cut.

    Its to soon and to complicated to say for sure but we might expect single parents, the homeless, the physically and mentally challenged to be hit the hardest in this round.

    Please note this doesn’t exclusively mean protection for the rest and may well be trimmed to demonstrate what the Tories call fairness.


    July 2, 2015 at 10:38 am

    • It is every wo/man for their self though, gaia. Would you prefer that ESA was left alone and £30 a week was lopped of JSA instead?

      Also, that ‘arthritis’ victim in the helpful BBC package on the website won’t be arousing any sympathy. Listen to her harp on about the cost of her petrol. Is she seriously expecting the rest of us to pick up the tab for her 15 plate brand new Nissan Qashqai which we all know will be parked on her drive just conveniently out of camera shot all courtesy of ‘Motability’. Not to mention the toddler crawling around. Can’t walk but can still shag 😉 Pull the other one 🙂


      July 2, 2015 at 11:09 am

      • Sapphire, Gaia’s just pointing out the blunt truth which some of us do, it doesn’t mean we like it.


        July 2, 2015 at 12:04 pm

      • Oh, before I get back to chasing something else, you might want to consider sapphire a topic in math we call rounding.

        Usually when rounding we swing both ways dependant on the mean. So in this case for example £29.05, would be rounded to just £29.

        The only reason I mention this is your calculation is out by a factor of 1’900’000.

        You don’t have to take my word for it, you can always look it up if you like.


        July 2, 2015 at 1:02 pm

    • And it is quiet funny the way she tries to make out that she dislikes her car; like she used to enjoy walking everywhere. Not very convincing! We all know she loves zooming around in that 15 plate Nissan Qashqai. Anyway, JSA should be left intact, it is barely enough to feed a church mouse as it is. It is just ridiculous that alcoholics and druggies are getting more money than jobseekers especially with all the expenses that jobseeking entails; not to mention free Nissan Qashqais


      July 2, 2015 at 11:18 am

      • What’s the word im thinking of, oh that’s it, Derr

        Why do you think the BBC chose her Sapphire ?

        Honestly, when does one representation make a whole, is it any wonder people like you fall for propaganda and statistics as easily as you do.

        I thought exactly the same thing as you did about that video bar your imaginative colouring not to mention your chance to have a pop at addicts and would imagine we all did.

        I particularly loved and laughed at your mention of alcoholics and druggies getting free Nissan Qashqais as I could have sworn its illegal to drive while under the influence but hey, maybe its another government ploy to entrap claimants and take away there benefits, not.

        The point I was making sapphire was one of well, simple math as 58.1 million from 12Bn leaves,

        11’941’900’000 left to find.

        As for your reference to JSA apart from the fact im not actually claiming any benefits at all in addition to not working currently (no I haven’t been sanctioned) to expect no form of trim is well plain delusional and will probably come in the form of a freeze of the 1%, not to mention another round of whack a roo sanctioning along with a 20’000 plus a quarter projected figure on claimants coming off benefits. JSA has already been hit massively the last time round so there’s not really anything left to take hence the attractive look and mention of social protection funding (liable targets).

        Look sapphire im all for freedom of expression as I am for people making complete tits of themselves to be forever immortalised on online archives, but trying to cause division amongst benefit claimants doesn’t flatter you well, not to mention is hardly going to score you points with other members and posters to this site.


        July 2, 2015 at 12:22 pm

      • FAO “Sapphire”

        Drug addicts and alcoholics are the smallest category of claimants on “sickness” type benefits – whatever they’re called nowadays.


        July 2, 2015 at 12:35 pm

      • This topic about ESA is going to be a heated one.


        July 2, 2015 at 1:02 pm

      • Sapphire, love the arthritis sufferer or hate her, point is JSA, ESA and other benefits aren’t enough to live on!! The government are trying the blame game, divide n rule. While we’re hating the unemployed, single parents, obese people, migrants, we are not blaming the correct people ie politicians, for the crisis.
        And by the way I’m a single mum, working, with rheumatoid arthritis. I don’t have a car.

        kat rehman

        July 2, 2015 at 6:16 pm

      • Talking about “divide” there are those and we all know who, who think the unemployed are unemployed because they don’t know anything and so don’t know how to do anything – we can’t get an employer to pay us but we sure can work for free. we see how that works.

        Meanwhile I may/hope to be getting paid by an employer soon, the very same one I talked about the other day, I’ll find out if my persistence worked.


        July 2, 2015 at 8:33 pm

  2. Many people say “it’s everyone for them self” those who say it don’t help anyone else, if most human beings are like this then obviously millions of human beings will suffer as a result only this doesn’t have to be the case. but then it is. well it’s no different than day one.


    July 2, 2015 at 12:02 pm

    • Perhaps they’ll do something when the beggars start attacking them in the streets – putting them in chain gangs to clean the roads!

      Andrew Coates

      July 2, 2015 at 3:48 pm

      • I’m wandering about the homeless who are being removed from towns and cities around the world, if they are being removed where are they being moved to and what are they being made to do.

        When things get even worse, yes anything is possible.


        July 2, 2015 at 4:34 pm

      • Enigma hope you get the job and a wage!
        While we’re on the subject of wages, I got a promotion yesterday. The extra money isn’t great about another 300 a year. It doesn’t matter though I won’t be seeing any of it. My housing benefit will just go down!!

        kat rehman

        July 3, 2015 at 8:43 am

    • Thanks Kat, I will know very soon, maybe tonight, this job is full time, 12 hour shifts, 6 – 6, – 60 hours per week but split throughout the week, I worked there last year but the job I had was too much for my hands, (my first time, 🙂 of course I’ll be off benefits, and the wage for this job – very good.

      It’s good to hear you got a promotion, but sorry to hear that you won’t see the wage increase.


      July 3, 2015 at 4:08 pm

      • Thanks enigma!! Let us know how you get on. May we both stay in remission a good long while yet!!

        kat rehman

        July 3, 2015 at 6:13 pm

      • I will do, yes for years to come.


        July 3, 2015 at 7:58 pm


    Let’s face it, the original object of the Tories was to “cleanse” one million claimants from the former Incapacity Benefit and put them on to JSA.

    It should be no surprise that given the chance the Tories will merely speed-up the cuts by abolishing the WRAG altogether!


    July 2, 2015 at 12:59 pm

  4. There is another story that is going to start appearing very shortly,there’s been little or nothing mentioned since the 2012 headlines.


    However PIP unlike DLA is “supposed” to have more criteria through a points system,given the current state of play it doesn’t need a crystal ball to foresee the outcome. Appeal chaos,people who are entitled being quickly denied by letter with little consideration to their needs,once again the highest receiving group those with learning difficulties,these are most likely to lose as the takes longer applies section is reported to be ignored but equally they are less capable in filling out complex forms,additionally they have more complex needs too.

    Trying to tie spending cuts into making work pay doesn’t make argument,or find them more likely to find employment,those in work will be squeezed those out are going to find themselves under the “psychological problem” stigmatized umbrella,the amount of benefit loss will exacerbate problems putting them more into that situation by government plans.

    Making work pay is nothing more then making system fail.


    July 2, 2015 at 5:20 pm

  5. OT: Housing Benifit – Proposed cuts

    Housing benefit ‘savings considered by ministers’

    Ministers are considering forcing all housing benefit recipients to contribute towards their rent as part of efforts to save £12bn from the welfare bill, government sources say.

    Housing benefit is thought to be an obvious target as costs have been rising in recent years, to £25bn last year.

    The average weekly housing benefit payment is £93.

    If, for instance, ministers made claimants pay 10%, they would have to find about £9.30 a week to ensure their rent is paid in full.

    The Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) has calculated that this would save £2.5bn if applied to both the social and private rental sector.

    “Very scared”
    Samantha Ashby is a single mother of three – two teenage boys and girl of five – from south-east London, who currently gets all her rent paid by housing benefit.

    “I’ve been unemployed since I was pregnant with my daughter. I used to work somewhere but I’ve had my daughter since then and I’m unable to work.

    “The relationship with their father has broken down so he moved out and I’ve basically been on my own. She started full-time school last September. I have been looking for work but just haven’t been able to find anything that fits in with family-friendly hours.

    “I would probably have to drop her off at a breakfast club or childminder’s or after-school club. I would need somewhere close, with decent hours.

    “There’s shift work out there but it starts at 7am and goes on to 11pm. It’s just not practical. The hours are very limited.

    “I can’t afford to pay any rent at the moment. I’ve got literally just enough money to get by, to pay the bills, clothe the kids, put food on the table. I don’t have any spare money, I’ve got no reserves, no savings, nothing to tide me over to get me through any benefit cuts.

    “Debt would be eviction again and if I was evicted there’s always the fear that they would say I’d made myself intentionally homeless by not paying the rent. Obviously I’m very scared.”

    The measure to reduce the benefits cap to £20,000 outside the South East would save tens of millions – a relatively small amount of money, according to the IFS.

    However, Chancellor George Osborne is said to see it as a key political message, showing that the government is tough on welfare costs.

    MY READ OF THE Above:

    As a Example to make this plain as day:

    So – if have children and on benifits make a choice as follows:
    – if not at home tending underage children, by having to work, go to jail as Social Services will have them off you in a flash for child neglect
    – if at home but children end up starving as ends don’t meet due to increasing contributions to what not benefits like housing/tax credits. Social Services will have them off you in a flash
    – if don’t pay rent, told delibretaly made yourself homeless, eff off you’re on the streets – possiblity Social Services will have them off you in a flash

    So all good.

    Er no. What person would want to have children under those circumstances..? oh do’nt then! I remember complaints about not enough English People having children? This will really help.

    How long before the first reports and Confirmed Deaths by starvation, just to keep a roof over your head?

    But remember always, we are all in it together.


    July 2, 2015 at 5:58 pm

    • I have had to contribute towards paying my rent for the past 5 years, (when on HB) HB – £68 per week, rent – £87


      July 2, 2015 at 8:07 pm

    • People suffering from starvation yes, we’ll see them lying in the street before they get taken away.


      July 2, 2015 at 8:25 pm

    • Are yes, the scandal that is housing.

      I love it how politicians, press and certain associations, not to mention significant others misrepresent the subject of housing or should I say housing of.

      I could simply attack the divisions encircling welfare as the topic but the issue is way way grander than that.


      July 2, 2015 at 9:45 pm

  6. autonomous forklift truck, effortlessly shifting pallets without the aid of a “human” driver.

    we should worry about the threat to the workforce.

    “Forget about it, – they are going to help us, make jobs simpler, and humans?

    But over the next few years we could see them gradually filling more human roles, from sales assistants to child minders to taxi drivers. And we – the humans – will have to decide how far this robot revolution should go.



    July 2, 2015 at 8:58 pm

    • enigma

      NextBigFuture site:


      My View:

      Despite the protestations of “Our Betters” that there is nothing to fear, there is everything to fear in this.

      Computers did lead to large job losses – maybe not in the obvious areas right away [Banks & backoffices and other paper type businesses – and that led to a culture change which led us to the banking crisis/Communication, see digitisation – I suspect if you check the numbers for the number of phone lines before and after you’ll see a big difference in numbers employed in the sector/Mail – cue what is happening with Royal Mail letters numbers etc etc etc], use of “Just in Time”, but the losses came soon enough.

      With Robots, it will be on a completly different scale and impact

      As indicated above, the one thing missing in Technology is Ethics. Its not built in. The impact of Technology on us is driven by the following:



      July 2, 2015 at 10:42 pm

      • While China’s building and using the robots, the UK is re-training 10 million as unpaid shelf-stackers.

        Another Fine Mess

        July 3, 2015 at 1:20 am

      • “the humans – will have to decide how far this robot revolution should go” to me and many others of course. the robot revolution has already gone too far,- where humans are concerned, I am though interested in robotics but ………….. don’t interfere with my job.


        July 3, 2015 at 5:00 am

      • But the only reason we are re-training 10 million unpaid shelf-stackers is because an “automated shelf stock replenishment” system has of yet not been developed… but don’t worry, someone(s), somewhere(s) (in summer time) will be working on it. The self-scan check-out was only the beginning. As Marx so famously said: Capital hates Labour!

        Unexpected Item in the Bagging Area :D

        July 3, 2015 at 9:20 am

      • They’re indeed working on this!

        Andrew Coates

        July 3, 2015 at 10:50 am

      • Actually the second to last post is wrong.
        Weve had fully automated warehouses which are shelves for ages now. I saw one in Holland a while back in 2005 and get this, it was run by only 4 people who practically did nothing to keep it running.

        So a smaller one for supermarkets is just waiting for someone to put the pieces together as the theory is already a reality.


        July 4, 2015 at 9:21 am

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