Stephen Crabb our new Welfare secretary replacing Iain Duncan Smith posted this on Facebook two days before his appointment. There was a glaring error in his post. He, like IDS and DWP in so many of their press releases, conflated the Work-Related Activity Group (WRAG) of Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) with people who are Fit For Work. In reality people in the WRAG are considered Unfit For Work but may be able to work in the future with support or treatment or something. Now whether this was deliberate in an attempt to make people agree with the scrapping of the WRAG, which means the loss of £30 a week for many disabled people, or plain ignorance I really don’t know. However I would expect a government minister to have done his homework before posting to Facebook. Unfortunately IDS and the DWP have set such a bad example that I think he’s doomed to repeat all their crappiness.
Anyway, I emailed him about his error. This is what I sent.
“Being in the Work Related Activity Group of ESA is not the same as being able to work. I’m astonished by how many people are unable to understand this. People in the WRAG are currently unable to work but may, with support and/or treatment, be able to work in the future.
Our Citizens Advice Bureau spells it out here unless you think their information is inaccurate. https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/…/about-the-esa-groups/
I’m in the WRAG despite spending about 70% of my waking hours fighting thoughts of suicide. Right now I really want to through myself under a fast moving vehicle. This has been my life for as long as I can remember. Trying not to act on these urges is exhausting and combined with all my other symptoms makes me an incredibly volatile person in terms of affect and behaviour. Anyone who knows anything about me thinks the idea that I’m “fit for work” is ludicrous. I go from happy to suicidal in the time it takes someone else to frown. And a simple frown can be a trigger.
As for support, I barely get any. I get no treatment. I’m not eligible. Please stop spreading lies about people who are in the WRAG. Writing this email has been so difficult that I need to self harm again.”
He has since edited his post to correct the glaring error. Now if only they could correct that cut. I won’t be holding my breath.