People are actually more keen to work under generous welfare systems, a major Europe-wide study has found, and they do not create a culture of dependency.
The research, released by the British Sociological Association and published in the journal Work, Employment and Society, comes as all major parties indicate they want to reduce spending on benefits.
Survey responses from 19,000 people in 18 European countries, including the UK, indicated that the sums spent on welfare had a positive impact on people’s desire to find work.
Dr Kjetil van der Wel and Dr Knut Halvorsen examined responses to the statement “I would enjoy having a paid job even if I did not need the money” and compared the responses with the amount the country spent on welfare benefits and employment schemes.
The sociologists, based at Oslo and Akershus University College in Norway, found that the more a country paid to the unemployed, disabled people or sick, and invested in employment schemes, the more likely its people were to say they would enjoy a paid job – whether they were in work or not.
Dugan. E 2015 The Independent Daily Briefing 31st March P. 11
“Do you think this Government or the next will be taking this revelation into account when planning their welfare spending?”
DWP has accepted the majority of the recommendations from the fifth Independent Review of the Work Capability Assessment (WCA).
The final review, which was carried out by Dr. Paul Litchfield, was published in November 2014. Dr. Litchfield looked at the changes that had been made to the WCA in response to the first four reviews. Although he made some recommendations for further improvements, Dr. Litchfield said:
“My counsel would be to let the current WCA have a period of stability – it is by no means perfect but there is no better replacement that can be pulled off the shelf.”
Dr Litchfield made 28 recommendations and 26 have been accepted. These relate to a range of issues including: • An increase in the number of people being placed in the Support Group, especially younger people; • The need to ensure that communications are as good as they can be especially for more vulnerable claimants; • Better support for claimants with learning disabilities.
One of the recommendations from the fourth independent review was that DWP should make it clear that evidence from care professionals such as community psychiatric nurses, support workers and carers can prove extremely useful when deciding whether someone is entitled to Employment and Support Allowance. This is particularly the case if someone has a mental health condition.
As a result DWP has improved the ESA50 questionnaire, which people complete when they claim ESA. DWP sought the views of disability organisations to help inform these changes. The revised ESA50 questionnaire will be issued from March.
“Community support workers for people with mental health conditions/learning difficulties have been chopped left, right and centre through the millions of pounds slashed from county council budgets. Are we supposed to believe it will get better in todays fiscal climate? – I don’t think so”