10 December 2008
What: In the House of Lords, Lord McKenzie (Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Department for Work and Pensions) says the White Paper ‘Raising Expectations and Increasing Support: Reforming Welfare for the Future’ will implement the Freud report in full. It is also informed by an independent review Professor Paul Gregg (“Realising Potential: A Vision for Personalised Conditionality and Support”, on 2 December 2008), which says that ‘conditionality backed with a regime of sanctions improves outcomes’ (although sanctions should be a ‘last resort’). He says the White Paper aims to get almost all claimants either preparing for work or looking for work, and claims that “We will migrate everyone on incapacity benefit on to ESA.”
Why significant: Over the years following this statement, DWP statistics will show a different story, with an increase between October 2008 to June 2015 (by 41%) in the number of people deemed to be at substantial risk. This seems to be because the points system of the WCA had made it harder to qualify (for example, for mental health the qualifying threshold increased from 10 points to 15). Because the points threshold had become so high bar, more exceptions needed to be made because large numbers of claimants simply weren’t scoring enough points to qualify.