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Government admits 'failure' of ESA

20 Jun 2014

Citizens Advice Scotland has responded to reports that the UK government has admitted that the controversial Employment & Support Allowance (ESA) is ‘failing’.

CAS Policy Manager Keith Dryburgh says, 

“Ever since it was first introduced in 2008 we have been arguing that this system is not fit for purpose, and is hitting some of the most vulnerable people in our society – including sick and disabled people and their families. For 6 years we have published regular evidence reports showing the real-life impact that this flawed and unfair system has on people. Our argument has been based directly on the real case evidence that we see in Scottish CABs. (see cases below) 

“ESA today remains by far the biggest single issue dealt with by Scottish CAB advisers. ESA cases make up over a quarter (27%) of all our work. They have also been increasing as a proportion of all CAB work: in 2011/12 Scottish CABs dealt with 49,000 ESA issues, the following year this rose to 76,000, and in 2013/14 that increased to around 82,000 ESA issues. That is a 68% increase in two years. 

“The ESA has been deeply flawed from the beginning, and it remains in need of major reform. We will continue to make the case for change, and to recommend specific improvements that can be made to the system, so that sick and disabled Scots can get the support they need and are entitled to.” 

In March CAS submitted our latest evidence report on ESA to the UK Parliament’s Work & Pensions Select committee. That document can be seen at /system/files/publications/CAS%20response%20WP%20Sel%20Cttee%20ESA%20and%20WCA%20FINAL.pdf

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