When problems with this were first brought to my attention, I had not read the "A Fair Society?" report from where the figures are drawn; what I saw was responses by Ben Baumberg to FullFact on Twitter, which were:
"...didn't read the CWR report that contains the figure! E.g.
"...It's not that the figures are perfect - they're not - but unusually
I frequently warn other welfare campaigners(and receive important corrections myself) about careless use of statistics for rhetorical effect and wrote this piece back in January explaining why benefit spending on the unemployed is not 3% and they should stop claiming it is. In FullFact's article I can see them making a similar mistake, loosely described by Ben Baumberg: spending targeted at a group is not all spending on that group. That group not only overlaps with other claimant and service receiving groups, but some disabled people won't receive any disability-specific provision at all but be relying on other sources of public funded income and support. This alone means the FullFact piece requires significant change, to fully account for the provision disabled people rely on, most of which are under pressure from the government to reduce costs even further and to better explain the conclusion FullFact ends up with. FullFact did not respond to the replies on Twitter and the item was not changed. When they re-tweeted the article again today(note: I started writing this a few days ago and got back to it), it still had not been changed and it made me rather angry.
FullFact do acknowledge in the article that not all disabled people are in receipt of the specific benefits and support provision, but there appears to be a lack of understanding about how some of the ways the government is allowed to get away with things. For example, by counter-balancing losses for some with rises for others- this makes it easy for people only looking at the raw numbers to fall into the trap of only considering the aggregate net total of spending and they ignore what thousands of people will lose. If you think about it in these terms then you miss the point(as virtually every Coalition-supporting news outlet and commentator manages to). If you instead focus on the recipients of support to begin with and what they then lose, you see the effects. The report notes that by 2011 78% of councils had stopped supporting those with 'low' or 'moderate' needs(3.1); if you focus only on how those councils reduced overall spending on social care rather than on the total sum lost by those no longer eligible for support or only reduced support, you would not see the damage done even in terms of the financial hit to the losers. Most of the losers would be in a blind-spot. It's possible FullFact's impartiality could be part of the problem; it does not occur to staff that cuts are ideological and not in fact intended to make significant overall savings. So nothing that points that way is considered.
For all its faults, the A Fairy Society report does explain how it arrives at many of the estimates it gives. It is not clear how FullFact improves on this. It neither works to rebut the content within the report nor provide an equally comprehensive analysis to see if the same conclusions are drawn. As I finish this, Scope has just released a report they commissioned from Demos and it arrives at very similar conclusions to A Fair Society. As far as I am aware, that report is completely independent of the other one.