Incapacity Benefit

Oral Answers to Questions — Work and Pensions – in the House of Commons at 2:30 pm on 24th February 2014.

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Photo of Graeme Morrice Graeme Morrice Labour, Livingston 2:30 pm, 24th February 2014

What assessment he has made of the effects of the migration of claimants from incapacity benefit to employment and support allowance.

Photo of Mike Penning Mike Penning The Minister of State, Department for Work and Pensions

At March 2013, as a result of incapacity benefit reassessment, over 650,000 people have been reassessed and are now either preparing or looking for work.

Photo of Graeme Morrice Graeme Morrice Labour, Livingston

Is the Minister aware that between October 2012 and September 2013, using his own Department’s figures, the ESA participant group performance was 6.6% against the DWP minimum target of 16.5%? Will he now accept that the Government’s Work programme experiment has been a complete waste of time and money, and will they now scrap it?

Photo of Mike Penning Mike Penning The Minister of State, Department for Work and Pensions

No, we will not, because we are already two thirds of the way through the incapacity benefit reassessment process. We have 1 million people in the process and, as I said earlier, 650,000 have already progressed through.

Photo of Andrew Bridgen Andrew Bridgen Conservative, North West Leicestershire

I am very pleased that the employment rate for disabled people has now reached 45%. Does my hon. Friend agree that that shows that, with the right support, disabled people can find and keep work and provide for their own families?

Photo of Mike Penning Mike Penning The Minister of State, Department for Work and Pensions

I welcome the fact that it is now 45%, but we can do better, and we need to do better for those disabled people who want to get back into the workplace. That is why Disability Confident is going around the country showing employers how easy and right it is that they employ people with long-term illness and disabilities, and that has been very successful.