10.57am: Labour is to call for changes to the controversial work capability assessment, the test used to identify whether people on long term sickness benefit are “fit for work”.
I’m told the call, by shadow work and pensions secretary Liam Byrne, will be made at an opposition day debate on disability this lunchtime.
Byrne will apparently reveal new figures that show that :
the cuts to disabled peoples’ benefits now outstrip the amount of money the Government is taking from bankers.
The work capability assessments (WCA) are a big element in our investigation into mental health and breadline Britain. More on this later.
According to a note I’ve received from his office, Byrne will also say:
Iain Duncan Smith once said he was determined to tackle poverty. But the reality is he is driving disabled people into poverty and their carers to breaking point.
He ‘ll also raise the following points:
• Working age disabled people have a median income 30% lower than those without disabilities.
• Nearly 40% of people appealing against a decision to move them off incapacity benefit are successful. The cost of these appeals is approaching £50 million a year – and the wait for a tribunal hearing has doubled to nearly 6 months.
•The Work Programme has missed its target for disabled people by over 60%
BBC Parliament Sky 504 & Freeview
Urgent Questions, Ministerial Statements (if any).
Presentation of Bills
(1) Disability benefits and social care
(2) Regional pay
(may continue until 7.00 pm).