Peter Hoskin

Stopping the rot

Stopping the rot
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There's an essential interview with David Freud in today's Telegraph.  Freud wrote a review of welfare for the DWP, and many of its reforming proposals are being adopted by the two main parties.  Now, however, Freud wants the policymakers to go further, particularly on incapacity benefit:

"When the whole rot started in the 1980s we had 700,000 [people on incapacity benefit].  I suspect that's much closer to the real figure than the [2.6 million people] we've got now...

...If you want a recipe for getting people on to IB, we've got it: you get more money and you don't get hassled.  You can sit there for the rest of your life.  And it's ludicrous that the disability tests are done by people's own GPs - they've got a classic conflict of interest and they're frightened of legal action...  

...The private sector will have to start making assessments about who they can get back into work at what cost. If somebody is really clinically depressed, for example, [the company] might say, 'I'm not going to get this guy to hold down a job for three years because he's not up to it so I'm not going to expend my efforts on him at the moment'...

...There are probably five to seven per cent of the people on IB today who are on the black economy. They're doing jobs and claiming too but they won't have a free lunch any more."