Disabled people and those too sick to work are about to become the next group to feel the impact of the Government’s drive to reduce the cost of welfare and the numbers of unemployed.
Hundreds of thousands of people who claim sickness benefits may be forced to work part-time under new welfare reforms designed to target Britain’s “benefits culture,”Iain Duncan Smith has announced.
Duncan Smith also wants the system for deciding who is eligible for ESA (Employment and Support Allowance– the benefit paid to the sick and disabled people) – tightened up.
The Work and Pensions Secretary who currently faces a 53,500-strong petition demanding his resignation, outlined the reforms on Monday.
The Mirror reports: Labour MP Debbie Abrahams, a member of the Commons work and pensions committee, said: “Given IDS’s appalling track record, this is of real concern.
“I wouldn’t trust anything the man said.”
IDS will describe Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) as “fundamentally flawed” and make clear he plans to force more sick and disabled people off benefits and into work.
It comes ahead of the long-awaited publication of official stats this week showing how many people have died after being found ‘fit for work’ by hated Government contractor Atos.
And it follows revelations IDS’s shameless staff at the Department for Work and Pensions invented quotes from fictional characters supposedly delighted their ESA payments were cut.
“We know there remains a gap between the employment rate of disabled and non-disabled people,” Mr Duncan Smith will warn today.
“We want to ensure everyone has the opportunity to transform their lives for the better by getting into work.
The Work and Pensions Secretary has already slashed £7billion from working age benefits since 2010.
He has vowed to cut another £12billion during this Parliament.
George Osborne announced in June that people on ESA will lose £30-a-week in the latest round of cuts to encourage them back into work.
In his speech today IDS makes clear he wants to go much further and push thousands of people off ESA altogether.
“When ESA was introduced it was intended to be a short term benefit,” he will say.
“We need to look at the system and in particular the assessment we use for ESA.
Duncan Smith already faces calls to quit, after his department admitted that they fabricated quotes to promote benefit cuts.
The fake quotes appeared on leaflets that offered ‘case studies’ of people who had apparently been helped by the strict new benefit sanctions system introduced by Mr Duncan Smith under the Coalition Government.