Friday, October 07, 2005

Sick Bay

A Government scheme, Pathways to work, is to be expanded to help people on incapacity benefit back to work. No doubt many additional advisors will need to be recruited to assist them.

It would be far simpler and cheaper for the taxpayer if incapacity benefit was reduced, immediately increasing the relative benefits of working. Why should those on incapacity benefit receive more than unemployment benefit? What incentive is there to find work when incapacity benefit increases the longer someone claims it?


wonkotsane said...

Just a small point - unemployed people are capable of work, incapacitated people aren't. If the system is being abused then they should stop the abuse, not penalise the genuine claimants. My mum had to claim incapacity when she was being treated for cancer and was unable to work. My parents struggled with the small amount they paid then and she even had to pay for prescriptions!

Snafu said...

Wonko, you are quite right to highlight that not all people on incapacity benefit are abusing the system.

However, why is there such a concentration of people on incapacity benefit in areas such as Merthyr Tydfil? Are they more prone to illness than other parts of the country or are the incentives to claim incapacity benefit greater when there are few local jobs?

The report compiled by left-wing think tank Catalyst and Sheffield Hallam University suggests that 1.1m of the 1.7m people on incapacity benefit would be in work if there were jobs in their area. It does not suggest they are all unable to work.

wonkotsane said...

That's a lot of people. I think my wife's step-father is on incapacity as he is deaf and disabled. He genuinely isn't capable of doing any job - his memory is shot, he has no co-ordination, he can't hear, he can hardly walk. They scrape by on meagre handouts from the government.

Any action should be targetted against those who don't deserve help - fraudsters, people who refuse to work, asylum seekers, etc.

The biggest unnecessary benefits drain in this country is asylum seekers - they are prevented by law from working and live on benefits and in rent free housing. Meanwhile, the state struggles to find people to do the shit jobs and jobs that require skills in short supply. Asylum seekers could work as interpreters, translators, etc. They could do shit jobs that they can't get people to do. People will say it's exploitation and discrimination but who cares? They are fleeing persecution from their own country and request our hospitality so let's make them pay for it. If they can't bear doing these jobs then the persecution obviously isn't that bad is it?

dearieme said...

W: "They are fleeing persecution from their own country" - not usually. Usually they have successfully fled and arrived in Italy, France, Germany or wherever. When they reach us they are just shopping around. Be that as it may, I had a year on Incapacity Benefit's predecessor and ended up slightly better off than I should have been had I been working normally - and I didn't cheat in any way. Mysterious are the ways of the Welfare State. And often extravagant.