Welfare needs ‘complete overhaul’
Ed Miliband’s benefit reform proposals "don’t go far enough", according to a leading mental health charity.
Yesterday the Labour leader announced plans for a three-year cap on spending on structural benefits and more help for disabled people to take up work opportunities.
"Towards the end of our time in government, we did introduce tests for the Employment and Support Allowance," Mr Miliband said.
"That was the right thing to do, and we continue to support tests today. But when over 40% of people win their appeals, it tells you the system isn’t working as it should. It needs reform so that it can really distinguish between different situations.
"Disabled people who cannot work, disabled people who need help to get into work, and people who can work without support."
Paul Farmer, Chief Executive of Mind, said:
“We welcome Ed Miliband's call today to provide more support to people unable to work and to those who want to work but need additional help to get back into a job.
“We were also pleased to see Labour highlight the flaws in the Work Capability Assessment, reflected in the high rate of successful appeals – 40%.
“However, Mind believes this doesn't yet go far enough. What is needed is a complete overhaul of the process to ensure a fair and effective welfare system which works for people with mental health problems.
“We'd like to see improvements such as changing the descriptors used within the test, matching claimants to assessors who have expertise in the health problems that affect them; and more focus on nurturing people back to work rather than placing sanctions on benefits. We know there is a real risk that the current process and conditionality people face will cause their mental health to deteriorate.”
Mr Farmer added: “People with disabilities, including mental health problems, tell us that they want to work but they need the help and support to do so.”
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