26 April 2011
Political monitoring agency DeHavilland reports:
Government figures show more than 80,000 people are on Incapacity Benefit, which supplies claimants with up to £91 a week, due to obesity or substance abuse issues. However, all claimants are now being reassessed in a bid to establish whether some are fit for work.
Employment Minister Chris Grayling has today told Channel 4 News:
"The issue here is we have 80,000 people with problems that, with the right help, could be overcome.
"(They have) little contact from Government, (there are) very few questions about whether they could do something better, (or) with the right support they could get back into work. All of that has to change now.”
He said, "It's not about taking people off benefits it's about finding the people who will benefit from specialist help to get them back into work. That's why we're reassessing 1.6m people.
"There are half a million vacancies in the economy today. In the past three months we've had a million vacancies in Job Centre Plus. The Office of Budget Responsibility is forecasting an increase in employment of nearly a million over the next four years."
On the readiness of companies contracted to provide support programmes to those receiving benefits he said, "Our plan is to have the Work Programme up and running during the summer. We'll start rolling it out across the country at the start of June.
“The longest we expect to wait is the first few days of July and that is absolutely in line with the department's business plan."