Monday, 21 February 2011

The Footprints of Chicken Little

You're probably not a Yorkshireman. You might be, but statistics say that despite our virility non-Yorkshiremen outnumber Yorkshiremen by 1:1,140. The world is playing it safe.

You should play it safe too as you've already had quite a bit to read if you're following this investigation and could be in danger of having your non-Autistic non-Yorkshire brains give up on you. So from here this investigation will be broken up into smaller posts. First, let's look at the DWP figures(similar to the ONS figures) for Jobseekers Allowance in a time series. Go on, look at it.

Look at them, those feckless workshy charging the barricades to take the money. Angry? Good, because you're an idiot. Anyone can see(Autistic Yorkshireman or not) that JSA claims were actually falling, a moderate downward trend in the last decade. The sudden shoot upwards coinciding with the recession would suggest that a policy of job growth is needed to bring those numbers down, but what would I know?

What about all those claimants before the recession though? How long have they been claiming? Well you could check the Excel file provided by Channel 4 but here's another graph.
Long-term JSA claimants made up little more than 5% of the claims in 2000 and make up less than 0.5% of the claims now.

The main lead I have on Case file #4 however is that the Coalition angle on jobless benefit claimants isn't just confined to Jobseekers Allowance, but to other unemployment benefits. Early on in the Coalition's campaign to whip up a public frenzy against the sick and disabled they suggested that Disability Living Allowance was an out of work benefit and were caught out. Having not admitted the 'error' they just quickly stopped using it and instead focused on the actual out of work disability claims; Incapacity Benefit and it's replacement the Employment and Support Allowance. They insisted this was out of control, it was unaffordable, people who could work were being parked on this and never being heard from again. Using the IB-ESA transition trials of Aberdeen and Burnley they claimed most of those actually put through the tough Work Capability Assessment were fit to work after all. Here's some perspective.

The green line shows just Incapacity Benefit claims whilst the blue line is Incapacity Claims plus ESA. ESA was introduced in August 2008 and with new IB claims no longer being accepted it is....quickly dropping off, what? Existing claimants start dropping almost instantly. Why does that matter? Because the transition trial is just in two constituencies and started two years later, the vast majority of those who were already claiming IB for long-term reasons are still claiming whilst those who claimed IB for short-term reasons are claiming and then their time on it is expiring naturally(they are either getting better and then going back to work or dying from what they have). That sudden drop means a majority of IB claims were short-term to begin with. When new claims for IB were stopped, the natural end of claims carried on and in just two years the caseload has halved and still appears to be on a quickly dropping trend.

The only other sole benefit which the jobless can draw on to survive is Income Support.

Case file #4 finds that the Coalition has repeated its selective use of data to support it's welfare policy in regards to disability unemployment benefits whilst ignoring much more obvious, less obscure data at their fingertips which contradict their case for welfare reform. Case file #4 finds no evidential support for reform of Jobseekers Allowance and Incapacity Benefit. The reactionary Labour government initiative of Employment and Support Allowance in fact marks the point at which the existing moderate down-trend of Incapacity Claims ended; with the introduction of ESA and not the recession as was the case for boom in JSA claims. The Coalition seeks to make the same mistakes. 

Income Support is a benefit which the Coalition has only just raised it's voice on, but has not committed to an aggressive misinformation campaign yet. This investigation must arrive at the scene before the crime has a chance to happen. The investigation is on-going.


  1. Arec

    Just to let you know I have found you.

    Interesting info you provide.

    The big question is how to get this in the mainstream media.

    they are simply repeating the gvt. figures without investigating them.


  2. Found you too Arec thanks to Leni. My wife's nephew is autistic and is shortly to lose the schooling he has been getting due to the cuts - the consequences will be bad for himself and for his family.

    What a great blog this is and what great work you are doing.


    ed (leo)

  3. Great blog Arec.

    Here's a point I made about statistics on WADDYA you might want to comment on. It was overlooked in a deluge of camel jokes!

    If you look at table 4 in the statistics released by the DWP(, you will notice that the initial proportion (Nov - 08) of those placed in the support group (ie: passed the assessment) was 62% with 19% being assessed as fit for work.

    Within six months only 9% passed with 69% being declared for work.

    Why the dramatic and very significant change? Something must have happened to cause this. It looks to me that the criteria for assessment or approval had been changed. Was this ATOS telling their staff to be stricter or was it the final decisions made by the DWP?

    I think there is a case for an investigation to determine who was responsible and why.

  4. Leni, Channel 4 made a good start but with foreign affairs as they are it was never going to gain the momentum to become a news item right now. If I get out of from under A4e's heel I'll be able to break cover and do more as a real-life Mason Dixon(,Autistic)and turn up where I'm least expected to ask the questions. Nick Clegg's embarrassing encounter in Leeds last week didn't make the news but some actual persistent public interrogation of ministers could. Cameron is impossible to get near, but we can see others are not.

    Hermit, that's interesting stuff. I may have to open another case file when Case #4 goes cold or closed. The change will have a coinciding event and I'll find it.

  5. good to see you finally got more posts,, i would like to contribute more to your blogs arec
    but i am in canada and my experiences with social services have been "the way it should be"
    with public servants giving my welfare and security very good service indeed,,

    hi hermit,,leni,,edwin,, glad someone else has made it over here,,and glad to see its a bunch of "the good guys"

  6. Arec

    Thanks for putting up your "shameless plug" on the WCA thread . Excellent work here.

    I hope you'll stick your bloglink at the bottom of all your posts, whatever the subject.

    Regards from frog2

  7. "You're probably not a Yorkshireman".

    No, but I'm a Yorkshire woman - will that do?

    Seriously, some good analysis here.