(Photo: Andrew Writer)

In its article ALMOST A MILLION PEOPLE WHO COULD WORK HAVE BEEN ON BENEFITS FOR THREE OF THE PAST FOUR YEARS, The Daily Mail writes about a report by the Department for Work & Pensions (DWP) on working-age benefits.

The paper focuses on the 982,000 people who have claimed benefits for three of the past four years and presents this information as number of out-of-work claimants who could work.

However, it’s another misleading headline as the figure includes a number of people in low-paid or part-time work who are receiving in-work benefits. It also includes people with a long-term illness or disability who the DWP consider will be capable of work in the future.

The breakdown of the 982,000 claimants is:

27.7% claiming Jobseekers Allowance (JSA)
46.6% claiming Employment Support Allowance (ESA)
25.7% claiming Income Support (IS)

The 25.7% claiming IS (approx. 252,000) are lone parents working part-time less than 16 hours per week.

The 46.6% claiming ESA (457,000) includes 35.8% (352,000) who are in the work-related activity group (WRAG) which are those the DWP consider will be capable of work at some time in the future and who are capable of taking steps towards re-entering the labour market (e.g. training or work-focused interviews).

It also includes 10.8% of ESA claimants (106,000) who are at the assessment phase, including an unspecified number who are in part-time low-paid work.

So the only people who really fit the description in the headline are the 272,000 on JSA. Just over a quarter of them.

So we’ll have to award The Daily Mail 27.7% accuracy on this one, which sounds low but is higher than most of their reports on migration and better than the overall average for The Sun.

Tabloid Corrections Facebook page: here.


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