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Incapacity Benefits: Fit to Work?

30 minutes
First broadcast:
Thursday 12 August 2010

One of the most expensive benefits in Britain's welfare state is about to be drastically cut . More than 2.5 million British adults currently live on incapacity benefits but from October the coalition government has pledged to scrap them, declaring many people "fit for work." Burnley in Lancashire will be the first town in England to subject them to a controversial health test.

In The Report this week, Mukul Devichand investigates the test - which is already being used for new claims and is now being reviewed after complaints. It has already found over 70% of those who have completed the process fit for work, but is it going too far in its attempt to separate the idle from the genuinely sick?

The system being used involves extending the services of a private company which has been accused of sending severely disabled, and terminally ill, people into the work force during a recession. Incapacity benefit costs £12.5 billion a year and is often criticized for spreading a "sick note culture " in Britain.

Producer: Smita Patel.

  • Fears new benefits tests will force sick to work

    Fears new benefits tests will force sick to work

    A controversial health test to decide who will get long-term sickness benefits is being rolled out further, despite evidence that it is finding people with serious illnesses "fit for work" -- read reporter Mukul Devichand's article for BBC News Online.

    Read the article
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