Cuts to employment and support allowance are being “considered” by ministers

Politics and Insights

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Tory ministers are considering drastically cutting the main Employment and Support Allowance sickness (ESA) benefit, internal documents seen by the BBC suggest.

New claimants, judged to be capable of work with appropriate support, could be given just 50p more per week than people on job seekers allowance.

Current recipients get almost £30 per week more. This is to meet additional costs that arise because of a person’s disability.

The Department for Work and Pensions said the ESA proposals were “not government policy.”

The documents reveal that the government has also been forced to hire extra staff to clear the backlog on the benefit.

Some 100 healthcare professionals are being hired to carry out fitness-for-work tests. The staff, who will be employed through the Pertemps agency, will help to reduce a backlog of more than 600,000 cases.

They will be in addition to any extra staff brought in when a new…

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