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Three-quarters of Cumbrians on sick judged fit to work

Nearly three quarters of north and west Cumbria’s sickness benefit claimants are being judged capable of work, it has been revealed.

For the first time, the impact of controversial new tests on people in the area receiving incapacity benefit has been published – breaking down those told to look for work immediately, those who can work with support and claimants judged unable to work.

Official data shows 270 tests have been carried out so far in Carlisle, of which 90 or 33 per cent were deemed fit to work immediately. A further 36 per cent could work with support.

Across Copeland, 210 claimants have been assessed of which 70, 33 per cent can seek employment immediately and a further 43 per cent can work with support.

In Allerdale, of the 210 assessments 80, 39 per cent can work immediately and a further 39 per cent can work with help.

In Eden, of the 60 tests carried, 23 per cent can work and a further 45 per cent can work with support.

Employment Minister Chris Grayling said the figures proved the benefits system had been “a waste of human life”, adding: “Too many people have been left languishing on benefits for too long.”

The Work Capability Assessments, carried out by French company Atos, have been controversial, with disability charities calling for them to be suspended.

There have been a large number of appeals against the assessments, with around 40 per cent of findings across the country being overturned, suggesting a number of those told to return to work will be able to carry on claiming.

Critics said the test failed to identify mental health conditions and vilified disabled people as benefit cheats.

Across the UK around 1.5 million IB claimants are being reassessed and will either be found fit to work or moved onto Employment & Support Allowance.

ESA provides financial help to people unable to work because of illness or disability, and personalised support to those able to hold down jobs with the right assistance.

So far across the UK, 63 per cent of claimants were entitled to the benefit – with 34 per cent placed in the work related activity group and 29 per cent in the support group – while 37 per cent were assessed as fit for work, and not entitled to ESA.

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First they came for the communists, and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a communist.
Then they came for the trade unionists,
 and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, 
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a Jew.
Then they came for me
 and there was no one left to speak out for me.

Pastor Martin Niemöller (1892–1984) about the inactivity of the German public following the Nazi rise to power and the purging of their chosen targets, group after group.

"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it"
George Santayana (1863 – 1952)

“A nation’s human rights record should not necessarily or exclusively be judged by how it treats its highest citizens, its most privileged citizens, its most powerful citizens. It should
however be judged by how it treats its weakest citizens’. Nelson Mandela. (1918 – )

Posted by Robert Moore on 24 May 2012 at 06:46

@ Nathan. There is nothing worse than listening to people blabber on saying that they can't work because they are disabled.

Yes there is. There is listening to self-appointed arbiters on disability and employment blabber on without joined up thinking in their arguments.

The idea that there is no shortage of jobs is confounded by the fact that there are on average six people for every vacancy in the country. In some areas this is as high as 30 people for every vacancy.

In other words there are nowhere near enough vacancies to enable everyone currently looking for a job to find one.

One of the major reason for the non-participation of disabled people in the workplace society is the negative attitude of employers towards disabled people.

Employers are more unlikely to take on the additional costs associated with adjustments for disabled job applicants.

Disabled People who are made redundant as a result of the cuts will experience discrimination in their attempts to re-enter the employment market.

Now ask yourself Nathan. And be honest in your answer. If you were an employer with six people looking for a job and one of them is disabled who are you going to give the job to?

Posted by Jack Dawes on 21 May 2012 at 08:39

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