On 16 March 2011, the Lords debated a motion proposed by Lord Kirkwood to annul secondary legislation on the Work Capability Assessment (WCA) used to determine entitlement to Employment and Support Allowance (ESA).
WCA was introduced by Labour to assess whether an individual qualifies for ESA. It examines a range of different activities relating to an individual's physical, mental and cognitive functions to determine their capability for work.
The government wants to amend the criteria used to assess claimants, to filter out those who are able to work from those people who are too sick or disabled to do so.
The 2.6 million current incapacity benefit claimants will be reassessed from April this year. The Department for Work and Pensions expects an increase in the number of people found fit for work.
Lord Kirkwood is concerned that there has not been enough consultation on the proposals, and that the capacity to deliver the system does not exist.