Anneliese Dodds, Labour MP for Oxford East
Anneliese Dodds, Labour MP for Oxford East

Anneliese Dodds, Labour MP for Oxford East, today expressed ‘serious concern’ over an increase of 510 people claiming Universal Credit for health reasons over the last year. While in December 2022, 2,194 people were claiming Universal credit for health reasons, in December 2023, 2,704 were claiming, an increase of 510.

Anneliese Dodds MP said:

“A healthy nation is critical to a healthy economy but the Conservatives have failed on both – and these figures show how Oxford is paying the price. I know from speaking to residents across Oxford East that many local people are stuck on NHS waiting lists for essential procedures, or locked out of work due to long term sickness. This comes at terrible cost to them and to businesses in our community.

Labour has set out a plan to driving down NHS waiting lists, make work pay, and support people into good jobs across every part of the country, including here in Oxford.”

Labour’s plan includes bringing down waiting times for mental health treatment by recruiting 8,500 new mental health staff; changing incapacity benefits to encourage disabled people and people with ill health to try work without fear of losing their income or having to be reassessed if the job doesn’t work out; overhauling Access to Work, so that people know what equipment, adaptations or personal support they’ll get before they start work– giving them the confidence to take the plunge; and reforming job centres and devolving employment support so help is tailored to individual and local need.


Notes to editors:

– Labour’s mental health plan is funded by scrapping the carried interest loophole for private equity and the VAT exemption for private schools.

– According to the Resolution Foundation, twice as many young people are out of work due to illhealth today than a decade ago, most of whom have mental health conditions.

– Labour analysis of new DWP statistics, using StatXplore, shows that the number of people claiming Universal Credit for health reasons increased in every single parliamentary constituency in Britain between December 2022 and December 2023. The same DWP statistics – published earlier this month – found that “2.0 million people were on UC health compared to 1.6 million a year earlier” and “of all WCA decisions in the period January 2022 to November 2023, at least 69% are recorded as having mental and behavioural disorders, albeit this may not be their primary medical condition.” (DWP, ‘Universal Credit Work Capability Assessment statistics, April 2019 to December 2023’ 14 March 2024,

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