Reply To: Abolition of WCA, it’s effect on Subsidy and Defining ‘Vulnerable’

Andy Thurman

Here are (some of) my thoughts, Leonard…

Abolishing the WCA would not, of itself, affect anything – WCA is the current route for establishing a Limited Capability for Work which underpins ESA and an equivalent provision in UC. Abolishing the WCA would just leave a need to establish LCW in some other manner.
If they abolish ESA and the idea of LCW/LCWRA (not aware of any plan to do that?) then that would change things.
That said, when they replaced Incapacity Benefit with ESA they added LCW to the vulnerable definition so, if it is still relevant at the time of any change, a similar amendment could be expected.
As for the subsidy impact, I have long argued the farcical unfairness of LA’s losing more money if the claimant does not have LCW or, worse still, the LA cannot confirm it. It is particularly perverse given that the vulnerable status is highly unlikely to be a relevant factor in determining the eligible rent.
A well run supported accommodation project for ex-offenders/ex-addicts/mental health issues that empowers its residents to take up employment will cost an LA more than one that does not achieve the same success.
It has been suggested by DWP recently that there may finally be a change to the subsidy rules from 2024. I’m not counting any chickens but hope so! For LA’s to lose any subsidy at all on these cases seems wrong especially given that it doesn’t occur for RP cases (and gaining RP status is near impossible for new provision using leased property – even where no abuse exists) and because DWP do not want to take on the complexity of the supported sector in UC.