Skip to main content

Work Capability Assessment

Volume 516: debated on Monday 18 October 2010

17. What steps his Department is taking to increase the quality and accuracy of the work capability assessment. (17497)

As I indicated in my earlier remarks, I hope that the Harrington review will enable us to make the work capability assessment as appropriate as possible for the months ahead and the start of the migration from incapacity benefit to employment and support allowance. However, we will continue to review the work capability assessment on an ongoing basis, and if any opportunities arise to improve it, we will take advantage of them.

I have been approached in my constituency by many carers of people with severe mental health difficulties who have expressed concern about the work capability assessment. Does the Minister agree that we need to see how it can be adapted and refined to meet the requirements of severely mentally ill people?

I absolutely agree with my hon. Friend. That is why I have said to leading mental health charities that I actively seek their input on how we can improve, in particular, the wording of the different elements of the assessment. Equally, however, I stand by my view that, where we can, it is better to help people with mental health challenges into work than to leave them on benefits long term, doing nothing.