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Welfare Reform and Work Bill Briefing for MPs

Commons consideration of Lords amendments

 Citizens Advice Scotland is extremely concerned regarding the proposals to reduce the value of the Work Related Activity (WRAG) component of Employment and Support Allowance (ESA). The principle underlying the WRAG is to take people who, while unable to work at present, could do so in the future, and provide them with financial support, advice and training to return to the workforce. The changes proposed in the Bill run counter to this principle and risk serious detriment to the often vulnerable claimants in this group.

Likely impacts of the change include:

  • Clients who require additional financial support to find work due to illness or disability no longer receiving it, making them less likely to find and sustain employment

  • Clients who are assessed as not currently able to work due to health problems receiving almost £30 less per week in financial support

  • Clients who are unable to be able to work in the medium term, or who may never be fit for work again, receiving the same financial support as JSA claimants without health conditions who are only expected to need short-term support.

  • Clients who should be in the Support Group being wrongly placed in the WRAG, being sanctioned and losing all their income.

  • Clients’ physical and mental health worsening as a result of the changes.

  • An increase in the number of Mandatory Reconsiderations, and consequent increase in the length of time to process decisions.

  • Vulnerable clients waiting on a Mandatory Reconsideration decision being left without any income, as a result of being too unwell to claim JSA, or being unable to cope with conditionality and having their full benefit sanctioned.

CAS welcomes the Government’s commitment to remove Carer’s Allowance and Guardian’s Allowance from the scope of the Benefit Cap.

Rob Gowans
Publication date
February 2016
Publication type
Number of pages