From the Independent
The Government is spending more money assessing whether people are fit to work than it is saving in reductions to the benefits bill, a damning official report has revealed
The study by the National Audit Office (NAO) found that the Department for Work and Pensions is handing over £1.6bn over the next three years to private contractors who carry out the controversial health and disability assessments.
But at the same time, the Government’s own financial watchdog has warned that savings in benefits payments are likely to be less than a billion pounds by 2020 as a result of the new tests.
Yes, and the police cost far more to run than the seizures of crime. That's not the point. The police, insurance fraud officers, the internal investigations departments of banks and benefits assessors are there to act as a deterrent to people taking the piss. That without them, you'll get more crime, fraud etc.
In 2011, the total cost of Incapacity Benefit to the UK was £13bn per year. 37% of people abandoned their claims during the process. That's not that assessors turned them down. They either saw the letter and knew the game was up, or during the process realised that their pisstaking wasn't going to work. That's about £5bn quid we used to spend that we didn't need to. And more than anything, that's why you spend ~£550m per year on assessors. Because if you don't, a lot of people will take the piss.
Note 1: I'm not saying the assessment system is perfect. I'm sure it mishandles some cases, and maybe it should err more towards paying people. But when 37% of claimants give up, you clearly need an assessment system as a deterrent
Note 2: Not blaming any colour of party here. Both used IB to massage unemployment figures.
Note 3: Yes, the assessors are probably expensive because government pay for it and have no idea how to do this stuff for a sensible cost, but they're still getting a good deal.