We can get one million claimants off disability benefit and into work, says Iain Duncan Smith
- The Work and Pensions Secretary will vow to tackle a 'sicknote culture'
- Say too many sick and disabled people don't work when it is possible
- Will tell people who are on disability benefit 'Work is good for your health'
Up to a million people ‘languishing’ on sickness benefits could be put back to work with the right help, Iain Duncan Smith will say today.
In his first major speech on welfare reform since the election, the Work and Pensions Secretary will vow to tackle a sicknote culture that is ‘in dire need of reform’.
Too many sick and disabled people have been left ‘languishing in a life without work, when work is actually possible for them’, he warns.
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In his first major speech on welfare reform since the election, Iain Duncan Smith will vow to tackle a sicknote culture that is ‘in dire need of reform’
In a direct appeal to people on Employment and Support Allowance to consider a return to the workplace, he will say: ‘Work is good for your health.’
Ministers are already planning to cut benefits for people signed off as long-term sick judged to be capable of returning to work.
Today, Mr Duncan Smith will outline plans to replace the controversial test that decides whether people are too sick to ever work with a new test designed to assess what work people could do.
Those who have been out of the workplace for years will then be encouraged to ease themselves back into work with part-time jobs with the aim of getting them off disability benefits.
In a speech in London today, Mr Duncan Smith will highlight the progress made in cutting the number of people on the dole, compared with the slow improvements in helping the long-term sick.
Official figures reveal that the number of people on unemployment benefits is down by almost 700,000 since 2010, while those on sickness benefits fell by just 88,000 during the same period.
Around 2.5million people of working age are now on sickness benefits, many of them for years.
Mr Duncan Smith will say: ‘We need to be relentless in our efforts to get more people into work and off welfare. Work is more than just salaries, tax, numbers and statistics. In short, it is about self-esteem, self-confidence and self-worth. Yet there is one more area which we haven’t focused on enough – how work is also good for your health.’
Official figures reveal that the number of people on unemployment benefits is down by almost 700,000 since 2010, while those on sickness benefits fell by just 88,000 during the same period (file picture)
Ministers want to halve the gap in the employment rate between disabled and non-disabled people. Mr Duncan Smith will say today that this will involve ‘getting one million more disabled people into work’.
Employment and Support Allowance, which is worth £102.15 a week for claimants considered capable of work, was introduced in the final years of the last Labour government.
Claimants have to undergo a ‘work capability assessment’ to establish if they are able to go back to work immediately.
Those who are not are divided into two groups – the severely disabled who will never be able to work, and those who are judged to be capable of work.
Mr Duncan Smith argues that the test, which is criticised by disability campaigners, is too ‘binary’. Later this autumn, he will publish plans for a new test that will focus on establishing what work an individual might be able to do.
The new system is also likely to place duties on those affected to look for work.
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