Named and shamed over sick benefits

NILABE120424c1, Ilkeston job centre, south Street, Ilkeston.
NILABE120424c1, Ilkeston job centre, south Street, Ilkeston.

MORE than half of Erewash residents on the sick whose benefits have been reassessed have been found fit to work – the third highest in the country – shameful figures have revealed.

As part of its plan to reform the welfare system, the Government has begun reassessing every claimant in the country in a bid to make sure those who are fit enough to work can no longer claim incapacity benefits.

So far about 10 per cent of the country’s claimants have been tested.

Erewash was this week named and shamed as one of the worst offending areas in the country after 110 of the first 210 claimants to be tested – just over 52 per cent – were told they were actually healthy enough to hold down a job.

They will now lose their incapacity benefits but can claim job seekers’ allowance.

The figure, slightly higher than the percentage in Derby, makes it the highest in the county and way above the total figure for England of 37.2 per cent.

Derbyshire has five of its districts in the top 10, including neighbouring Amber Valley and Bolsover – both with 50 per cent.

Employment Minister Chris Grayling said: “These figures show how much of a waste of human life the current system has been.

“Too many people have been left languishing on benefits for too long.”

Brentwood in Essex topped the list with 55 per cent and North West Leicestershire was second with 53 per cent.

So far about 10 per cent of the country’s claimants have been tested. Eventually all 1.5m residents on the sick will either be moved on to the new Employment and Support Allowance system or told to get back to work.