UK Politics

Conservative Party: One million have died or retired on Incapacity Benefit

News   •   Jan 04, 2010 10:43 GMT

Theresa May, the Shadow Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, has highlighted "frightening" statistics about the number of people on Incapacity Benefit.

Almost 900,000 people have died or moved into retirement from Incapacity Benefits between 1998 and 2007. If the figures followed a similar pattern in 2008 and 2009 over 1m people will have died or retired whilst on IB under Labour.

There are currently 2.63m people claiming Incapacity Benefits or its new replacement benefit, Employment and Support Allowance, and the figure has begun to rise during the recession, despite Labour’s claims to have introduced a tougher assessment for the benefit.

Labour have paid out almost £100 billion in Incapacity Benefits since 1997.

May said that a Conservative Government would "reassess everyone on incapacity benefit and those who can work will be transferred onto Jobseekers Allowance and given the personalised help they need to get back to work".

Over half of those claiming IB/ESA have been on benefits for five years or more. People on Incapacity Benefits for two years or more are more likely to die or retire than find a job.

May added that it was a "travesty that there are many people on incapacity benefit who want to work and can work but have been left to languish by Labour". "We cannot go on like this", she said.