Labour would scrap DWP's controversial Work Capability Assessment 'fit to work' tests

Debbie Abrahams said disabled people should instead be given greater tailored support

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Indy Politics

A Labour government would scrap the Government’s controversial Work Capability Assessments for disabled people, the party has announced.

The fit-to-work tests try to quantify how ill a person is, to what extent they are prevented from working, and what payment they should therefore receive.

The tests have been criticised for refusing benefit payments to deserving applicants – and for the high rate of successful appeals. 

Debbie Abrahams, the shadow work and pensions secretary, said disabled people would instead be given a tailored plan and additional support for their lives.

“I want to scrap the discredited Work Capability Assessment and replace it with a system based on personalised, holistic support, one that provides each individual with a tailored plan, building on their strengths and addressing barriers, whether skills, health, care, transport, or housing-related,” she told the party’s annual conference in Liverpool.

“This Government's punitive sanctions system must go too, so Jobcentre Plus and employment support providers' performance will not just be assessed on how many people they get off their books,” she said.

“I want to see disabled people better supported into and at work. We will halve the disability employment gap - and when we say it, we mean it. And we will tackle other labour market inequalities too.

“I believe in a fair and just Britain, where everyone can get on and no-one is left behind.”

The Department for Work and Pensions says WCA has significantly improve in recent years after a series of reviews of the tests and that more people are getting tailored support to return to work.