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Incapacity Benefit

Volume 300: debated on Monday 10 November 1997

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To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what plans the Government have for encouraging those currently claiming incapacity benefit to gain employment. [15175]

The Government strongly believes that work is the best form of welfare for people of working age. We are committed to improving opportunities for sick and disabled people who want to work, including those receiving incapacity benefits, and have set aside some £195 million from the Windfall Tax to fund this important programme. We will use this money to explore a range of approaches to identify and pursue the best ways of helping people with disabilities and long-term health problems to move into work, and to avoid becoming dependent on long-term incapacity benefits.We are consulting with disability organisations and employers on our proposals. These include funding a number of innovative schemes to explore how best to help people move into work or stay in work; introducing personal advisers to help sick and disabled people to overcome barriers to work; an information campaign to improve knowledge of the existing help available to help people into work and to change attitudes of benefit recipients, employers and the public; and a programme of research and evaluation to develop our understanding of the client group and to determine the effect of our initiatives.