Nick de Bois (Enfield North, Conservative)
I have a small contribution to make to the debate. All MPs watch closely and listen carefully to charities, as I do in my constituency. I meet charities regularly and I am always seeking to handle cases in which it appears that odd decisions have been made, and with which I am uncomfortable. I will always pursue such cases, like any good MP, if someone feels that the system is not working correctly.
I rose to speak today to make a point. In all my time and in all my dealings I have never lost sight of what is fundamentally driving the WCA. We are asking what people can do and encouraging and helping people who have been ignored by the system. We seek to find what they can do and not what they cannot do. Many people in this Chamber will agree with that premise.
However, I will turn specifically to the statistics. If we look only at the statistics, it is easy to get a distorted picture. It is recorded that for 55% of new claimants who have been found fit for work, that is a good thing. I accept that appeal levels appear somewhat high. When we hear that 40% of those who are found fit for work appeal, we have to remember that 38% of them have a decision overturned. To put that in perspective, of all the claimants, overall we are talking about 15% fit for work decisions being overturned. I am not saying that that is satisfactory or that that is a good thing. However, I am determined to make a point.