Although IDS’ ministerial career is currently dead, there’s at least a possibility that he could be back in charge at the DWP before the summer is out!
Because if the British public vote to leave the EU, then Cameron and Osborne will almost certainly be toppled, possibly to be replaced by Boris Johnson.
If that happens, IDS will undoubtedly expect to be rewarded for his part in the Brexit campaign and there is a real possibility he will ask for his old job at the DWP back again.
IDS as one of the undead is a deeply scary thought.
Though IDS’ current replacement, Stephen Crabb may be no better than IDS. In fact, he may even be worse.
One thing is for sure, after his Facebook post supporting ESA cuts, we know he’s entirely ignorant about the benefits system – he voted for the cuts on the basis that everyone in the work-related activity group is fit for, and actively seeking, work.
Crabb’s first act as work and pensions secretary was to announce that the PIP changes have now been dropped and that there will be no more welfare cuts in this parliament. We’ve looked at the statements made by Crabb and Osborne and we’re not convinced that the Tories haven’t left themselves an awful lot of wriggle room for more cuts once the furore has died down.
Assuming they still have their jobs by then, of course.
We’ve also taken a look at what claimants might expect in the future if Osborne and Cameron stay in power.
Will ESA cuts still go ahead?
Will universal credit be quietly killed off?
Will attendance allowance be axed for new claims?
We can’t say for certain, but we take a look at the probabilities.
Meanwhile, the probability of a claimant winning their ESA or PIP appeal currently stands at 58% and 60% respectively – and rising. Which is no doubt why the DWP has been given £22 million to recruit 180 presenting officers for the next two years.
In theory, presenting officers should act as a ‘friend of the court’, helping judges to reach a fair decision. In reality, they will be sent by the DWP to try to discredit claimants and browbeat tribunal judges into accepting the DWP’s interpretation of the law.
Appeals are certainly not going to get any easier.
But, whatever problems lie ahead, just for this moment claimants have something to smile about.