From Sue Jones (Facebook):

“You know how people claiming ESA who were placed in the support group  were deemed incapable of work, and unlikely to be able to work again? Well now a tory think tank thinks that support rate ESA should also be scrapped. They also think that “conditionality” should be applied to people in this group with the “mildest conditions”. People in the support group do not have “mild conditions”. The state has already decided these people cannot work. The Reform think tank report has been presented to parliament to support ESA cuts. They propose:

1. A single out-of-work allowance should be established, removing all out-of-work disability-related premiums.

2. Time-limited transitional protection should be provided for current Employment and Support Allowance support group claimants

3. The savings from moving to a single out-of-work allowance should be reinvested into increased rates for Disability Living Allowance and Personal Independence Payment and increased provision of support programmes to help claimants move back into work.

4. Universal Credit should be assessed through a single, online gateway, made up of three components: an administrative assessment, Proximity to the Labour Market Diagnostic and health questionnaire. There should be transparent, plain language making it clear to the claimant the discrete purpose of each component, and thatlthough mandatory, each element operates independently of the other.

5. The current requirement to provide a ‘fit note’ from a GP should be scrapped.
Claimants should be able to submit evidence from the most appropriate healthcare professional. The Occupational Health Assessment should also be undertaken by the most appropriate healthcare professional, ensuring the assessment is focused on a claimant’s capacity to work

6. An ongoing assessment process should also be performed by a specialist
employment adviser – the claimant’s caseworker. This should include the ability to flex employment support and conditionality, as well as refer a claimant back to the Proximity to the Labour Market Diagnostic or Occupational Health Assessment, to account for changing circumstances.

7. As part of the Occupational Health Assessment, where appropriate claimants should co-produce an occupational health plan with their health adviser. This should be accompanied by a personal budget that is unlocked by a ‘dual key’ of claimant and specialist employment adviser. This should facilitate implementation of the plan to assist the claimant in moving closer to the labour market by treating or managing their condition.

8. The Department for Work and Pensions should pilot how best to apply conditionality to ensure compliance with an agreed occupational health plan. This should be targeted at claimants with mild to moderate condition.”

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