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Tests by the Department for Work and Pensions find many claiming sickness benefits are fit to work

By Matthew Barrett
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Iain Duncan Smith's Department for Work and Pensions has released figures today showing claimants of Employment Support Allowance (ESA) - which is to replace Incapacity Benefit - are, in many cases, fit to work.

The new ESA benefit requires a test to see if claimants are able to undertake work. Figures from the Department showed that of those who took the test, 75% could work. More detailed figures show:

  • One in 14 applicants is unable to do any work in the long-term
  • 39% were “fit for work” and moved on to job-seekers’ allowance
  • 17% were awarded ESA but classified as able to work in the longer-term
  • 7% were deemed incapable of any work
  • However, 36% of claims were closed before the assessment stage and 1% are still in progress
CAMERONAITW David Cameron reacted to the figures, explaining that the current welfare system does not work: 

"For too long in this country we have left people on welfare for year after year when those people, with help and with assistance, could work, and so we’re producing a much better system where we really put people through their paces and say that if you can work, you should work"

The Prime Minister then emphasised the virtue of working:

"The rest are able to work and we’re going to help them to get jobs. That will be good for them, good for their families and good for our economy."

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