From the time of the announcement of the changes to be brought in on ESA/WRAG by Damian Green and Jeremy Hunt at the Tory Party Conference in September, a bit of confusion has reigned over ESA and what will happen to WRAG.
So I have been trying to unravel the obfuscation and sleight of hand that are the usual Government tactics when they want to either introduce something, actually keep it as it is, or cover a nasty pill in a sweet coating.
I am not able at this point to fully unravel what the government is up to; but I would urge you to read this briefing paper to MP’s issued by the Commons Library during the summer 2016 titled: Abolition of the ESA Work Related Activity Component.
I would also urge you to take part in the Green paper consultation as regards the WCA.
The UK Government states:
“We want to hear views from a range of respondents:
- people with health conditions and disabled people
- both large and small employers
- employability professionals
- health and care professionals
- families, friends, teachers and carers
- local leaders and commissioners in health, social care and local authorities
- voluntary and community organisations
We also want to hear from people who work or would like to work. Improving the way we all look after our health, plan to be well and recover from illness in the workplace is something that will have an impact right across society”
My understanding of these papers is not speculation, but nothing is settled except for the WRAG which will not exist after April 21017.
In essence I believe that the ESA Support Group is all that will exist after that time. The WRAG appears to be abolished, with its higher rate of benefit cut by over £33 , which will equate with Jobseekers Allowance.
So, my understanding of all of this is that all those who fail WCA as new applicants from April will become Jobseekers on Universal Credit.
However, that begs the question: who is a new applicant?
I would like to hear from others who could interpret that seemingly innocent phrase, and under what circumstances a new application would have to be made.