Work and Pensions
Frank Field (Birkenhead, Labour)
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions whether the Government target of reducing the overall number of incapacity benefit claimants by 1 million over the next decade takes account of the number of new claimants eligible in this time span.
Anne McGuire (Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Disabled People), Department for Work and Pensions; Stirling, Labour)
Our aspiration of a million fewer people claiming incapacity benefits over a decade does indeed take account of the volume of people making a new claim for the benefit and the number of people leaving the benefit. That is why our ambitious proposals outlined in the Welfare Reform Green Paper encompass helping people to retain the jobs they have; get back into employment where they do not have one; and help them stay in work when they get a job.
Our measures are already working, reversing a trend which saw an additional 1.7 million more people claiming incapacity benefits between 1979 and 1997.
While it is difficult to model the precise impact of our proposed measures at this early stage, the Green Paper sets out our aspiration to see a million fewer claimants of incapacity benefits over the course of a decade through the combined efforts of the Government, employers, local authorities and health professionals.