We just keep hearing from ‘boys club’ government ministers and civil servants etc, that their reason for getting disabled people back into work is for them to be endowed with a more rewarding and fruitful existence – “rubbish”. To anyone with a modicum of logic and insight, their reason is and always has been, lets try and save some money with a bulldozer attitude, get the unemployment figures looking better, look as though were achieving and totally ignore the plight of those underfoot.
More than one million disability benefit applicants have been found to be fit to work after the introduction of face-to-face assessments.
Since 2008, 1.06 million new claimants for Employment and Support Allowance were deemed able to undertake employment, figures released by the Department of Work and Pensions revealed.
This has helped see the total number of on sickness itself drop by 165,360 since 2010.
Minister for Disabled People Mark Harper said: “This shows how we are helping those with illnesses or disabilities to fulfill their aspirations to provide for themselves and their families.
“As part of the Government’s long-term economic plan, we are looking at what people can do – with the right support – rather than simply writing off those on long-term sickness benefit as has happened in the past.
“There are now 1.8 million more people in work than 2010 and our welfare reforms will ensure that disability benefit support is better targeted at those who need it most.”
The figures also show the number on sickness benefits in Britain who are looking for work has now risen to 730,000 for the first time.
Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith has spearheaded benefit reforms. Earlier this year he said ending “cycles of worklessness and dependency” had been his “one aim” (admiral Iain, admiral).
ESA claimants can receive up to £108.15 a week from the Government after a 13-week period.
The process has drawn criticism from disability support groups, with claims those carrying out the assessment were under-qualified or overly harsh with their decisions.
There were also claims that appeals against decisions were taking so long, many people were simply reapplying.
One firm providing assessments – Atos – reached an agreement with the Government in March to leave its contract early.
Liz Sayce of the Disability Rights UK charity, was damning in her criticism, and said its “work programme is a massively failing disabled people”
She added: “The problem is being found fit for work is not the same as getting any support for work or getting into work”. The Government need to seriously invest in support for both disabled people and employers so that more disabled people are taken into the workplace.”
There is and will be many supporters of the Government’s flawed approach – mostly those “I’m alright jack’s” and those who would have the Oxford English Dictionary enter “a scrounger” under the entry “disabled”.