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Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Hansard 24/10/2011 - Grayling on no ESA during appeal period

Unfortunately, Mr Grayling does not indicate the level of WCA accuracy needed before even thinking about this proposal nor how he would deal with the error rate no matter how small it might be.  Of course if it is extremely small allowing appeals to be heard quickly, maintaining payments is far less of an issue.

Hansard  24th October 2011

Gemma Doyle (West Dunbartonshire) (Lab/Co-op): What the average length of time was for an appeal in respect of a decision on a claim for employment and support allowance in the latest period for which figures are available. [76004]

The Minister of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Chris Grayling): In the current year, the average actual clearance time between the Department’s receiving an appeal and its being lodged with Her Majesty’s Courts and Tribunals Service was 35.2 days. That, of course, includes the time allowed for individuals to produce new evidence about their circumstances. The average time taken from receipt of an appeal at HMCTS to the date of the first appeal hearing was 23.2 weeks. That information covers 1 April to 31 August 2011, the latest period for which figures are available.

Gemma Doyle: I thank the Minister for his detailed answer. Will he take this opportunity to refute press reports that he will cut the ESA of people who appeal against assessment decisions, especially in the light of the information that 40% of cases are being won on appeal?

Chris Grayling: What I expect to see as a result of the changes following Professor Harrington’s review in the summer is a significant reduction in the number of cases that go to appeal when the Department’s initial review and the reconsideration are upheld. In order to ease pressure on individuals, we have tried to ensure that there is a proper reconsideration service in Jobcentre Plus, so that they can produce new evidence at that stage and need not use the Courts Service at all.

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