Dear Ms Poulton,
my apologies for the delay in replying.Disabled people need support and compassion, and the Labour Party believes in a
welfare state that fulfils this principle. The previous Conservative Government took
the opposite approach and left many disabled people on Incapacity Benefit with little
support to return to work where possible. It is also important to separate out ill health
and disability from the decision not to work, which is taken by a distinct minority.
For these reasons, the previous Labour Government introduced the Work Capability
Assessment, and I am supportive of the principles behind this test.
However, I share some of the concerns that have been expressed about the test by
you, along with many charities, disability groups and healthcare professionals.
These concerns, the high percentage of appeals, and Professor Malcolm
Harrington’s expert reviews have shown that the test must be improved. The Government needs to listen to Professor Harrington’s advice, especially when his
third review for 2012 comes out.
We have also forced a vote in Parliament on the need to reduce the human cost of
the wrong decisions that result from the WCA in its current form.
Given the importance of this issue, I am keen that you discuss this further with the
Labour Party and share with us some of the experiences of people going through the
WCA that you have collected. Anne McGuire, my Shadow Minister for Disabled
People, would be happy to arrange a meeting in order to do so. Please contact her
on ********** to arrange a convenient time.
Thank you again for taking the time to get in touch on this issue.
Rt Hon Ed Miliband MP