Alice Thomson writes in this morning's Telegraph...
David Freud, an investment banker hired by James Purnell, the new Work and
Pensions Secretary, said the disability tests used to award state aid were
"ludicrous" and could be costing billions of pounds...Mr Freud suggested that
less than a third may be credible recipients while several hundred thousand work
illegally on the black market... "When the whole rot started in the 1980s we had
700,000 [claimants]," he said. "I suspect that's much closer to the real figure
than the one we've got now...Mr Freud - who has also influenced Tory welfare
reform policies - launched a damning attack on the system that allows people to
claim benefit, worth up to £81.35 a week. "If you want a recipe for getting
people on to IB we've got it," he said. "You get more money [than unemployment
benefit] and you don't get hassled, you can sit there for the rest of your life.
It's ludicrous that the disability tests are done by people's own GPs - they've
got a classic conflict of interest and they're frightened of legal action. The
system sends 2.64 million people into a form of economic house arrest and
encourages them to stay at home and watch daytime TV. We're doing nothing for
these people... You don't need to make a huge fuss about categorising people. If
you're disabled, work is good for you and not working is bad for you. The people
who are really disabled are often the ones who are really desperate to work, but
there are then a whole load of people who say they don't want to be made to work
Let's be clear. The current system encourages people not to work. There's a lot of tough talk by Gordon Brown about welfare reform, but it never happens. All you get is relaunch after relaunch. There is only one Labour politician who was ever serious about welfare reform, Frank Field. And look what happened to him.
The Conservatives have published their own detailed welfare refomr package, which seeks to put an end to the Incapacity Benefit scandal. If they are successful, several billion pounds of taxpayers' money will be saved. And about time too. Read the whole Telegraph article HERE.