Disabled People

Part of Oral Answers to Questions — Work and Pensions – in the House of Commons at 2:30 pm on 15th October 2001.

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Photo of Alistair Darling Alistair Darling The Secretary of State for Work and Pensions 2:30 pm, 15th October 2001

I strongly agree with my hon. Friend. The problem in the past was that, although the system offered some help to people who were registered as unemployed or jobseekers since 1996, it did precious little to help other people of working age who were not working for one reason or another. That is why in July this year I promised the House that I would lay regulations before it this autumn, which it will be able to debate through arrangements that will no doubt be made. Those regulations will introduce new measures to ensure that no one on, for example, incapacity benefit needs to go for more than three years without their case being thoroughly looked into to make sure that all opportunities for work are considered if that is appropriate, and if that is not appropriate to make sure that people are getting the right level of benefit. It is critical that we should not leave people of working age without any opportunity to work. That was one of the main failings of the system in the past, and we do not intend to perpetuate it.