Overcast

Overcast

max temp: 18°C

min temp: 14°C

ESTD 1874 Search

The pigs have arrived. See the latest

Pigs Gone Wild

news here.

Suffolk: More than 6,500 people on long term sickness benefit

12:12 20 November 2012

Department of Work and Pensions

Department of Work and Pensions

Archant

MORE than 6,500 people across Suffolk have been out of work receiving sickness benefits for more than a decade, official figures show.

The statistics from the Department for Work and Pensions come at a time when the Government is testing all those who currently receive Incapacity Benefit (IB) to see if they are actually fit to work.

Between October 2010 and February 2012 the Government tested 147,600 people receiving IB for more than 10 years across the country. Some 39,500 – more than 26% – were found fit for work after being reassessed.

If the same rate is reflected in Suffolk it would mean that of the 6,470 people receiving IB for more than a decade, 1,728 could be told they are fit to work.

Mark Hoban, Minister for Employment, said: “These figures show how broken the old incapacity benefit system was. We’re determined to give people all the support they need to help them on the long road back towards work.”

Under the testing regime claimants undergo a series of physical examinations and mental skill assessments which last around 13 weeks.

If they are found to be fit for work and cannot find a job they may then be moved on to the less generous out of work benefit, Jobseekers Allowance.

In Babergh there are 640 people that have received IB for more then 10 years. In Forest Heath there are 390, in Ipswich there are 1,550, in Mid Suffolk there are 620, in St Edmundsbury there are 810, in Suffolk Coastal there are 880 and in Waveney, 1,580.

Mr Hoban added: “I don’t underestimate the scale of the challenge. For many people it will take time to get back into work, but we are determined to do all we can to help.”

Ministers have promised to cut the welfare bill by roughly 10% during the course of the Parliament in an attempt to make work more attractive than a life on benefits.

The Government’s £5bn welfare-to-work programme is designed to help people like those who are reassessed and found able to go to work, officials said.

Incapacity benefits are thought to have cost the taxpayer around £135bn between 2000 and 2010 and coalition ministers have blamed Labour for “abandoning” tens of thousands to a lifetime on benefits.

But some unions and Labour politicians say the poor and vulnerable who rely on state help through no fault of their own will be unduly pressured back into work by the testing regime.

Tracey Lambert, head of health for UNISON East of England, said the Government was “attacking the weak and vulnerable”.

She said: “We are very disappointed at the Government’s proposals. We believe that stigmatising the disabled and mentally ill as scroungers is not helpful and will leave people impoverished and in distress. We would call upon the government to rethink this policy.”

2 comments

  • Well over ten years ago now, the tory Minister for Employment got unemployment office staff to "encourage" people with a bad back or depression (the latter probably caused by having no job) to register sick, because at that time they'd (a) get a bit more money and (b) reduce the number apparently unemployed. Unsurprisingly, many of those are still sick today. That's why the "system" is broken, tory ministers broke it.

    Report this comment

    James Lakin

    Tuesday, November 20, 2012

  • More like 6,500 cannot be bothered to work. It makes me laugh how they are unfit for work but can still walk round town all day long and drive and park in a blue badge space but are unable to do a driving job. These people cripple society. They can manage to go on holiday still and do recreation activies like Thorpe Park and Alton Towers at the tax payers expense but are still considered unfit to work. I know two wheel chair users who sit behined a desk for 9-5 and have use of disabled facilities at their place of work. Just because you are disabled does not mean you cannot work !

    Report this comment

    the opinion man

    Tuesday, November 20, 2012

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

Ben Wragge

Two teenagers arrested on suspicion of manslaughter following the death of a 13-year-old boy in Thurston will face no further action, police have said.

Picture: Ian Burt

A seven-year-old girl who was reported as missing in Great Cornard just after 4pm today has been found safe and well.

Police Officers. Picture: James Bass.

An incident involving a loose dog in Carlton Colville left a ten-year-old boy with a puncture wound, police said last night.

The Ipswich Foyer in Star Lane.

Thousands of people have signed a petition in protest against the proposed closure of a supported housing scheme in Ipswich.

The Buttermarket complex is being transformed and will house a gym, restaurants and a multi-screen cinema - Janice Poulson

The Buttermarket Centre in Ipswich is currently being converted to include a 12-screen cinema and chain restaurants including Wagamama, writes David Kindred.

The A12 as it approaches the Copdock roundabout.

Drivers experienced long delays after three cars crashed on the A12 northbound near the Copdock roundabout this evening.

Liz Ayling is urging parents to donate PE kit and old uniform from middle schools to charity. Liz is pictured with Joseph (12) and Daniel (8) in Bury St Edmunds.

Parents of children at the four Bury St Edmunds middle schools which closed down last week are being urged to donate any spare PE kit they have to charity.

Most read

Great Days Out

cover

Click here to view
the Great Days Out
supplement

View

Most commented

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Streetlife

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Great British Life

Great British Life
MyDate24 MyPhotos24