New secretary for work and pensions David Blunkett has sought to
allay disabled people’s concerns over incapacity benefit
In his first speech on disability, Blunkett said that incapacity
benefit reform was “a promise not a threat” and that he was aware
of people’s fears about the changes.
The proposed new benefits – rehabilitation support allowance and
disability and sickness allowance – will differentiate between
people with severe conditions and those who have potentially more
manageable conditions. This distinction does not happen under the
Those with less serious conditions will be able to top up the
amount of money they receive through engaging in activities
designed to get them back to work.
However, campaigners have raised concerns that people will be made
to go back to work before they are ready under the new
Blunkett, who was speaking at a Remploy conference, said that too
many GPs tell people that they will never work again when they
should be encouraging them to try and get back to work.
He said the government would work with the British Medical
Association and the Royal College of General Practitioners in an
attempt to change this.
He also confirmed the government would continue its current level
of investment in the Access to Work scheme, which contributes
towards any extra costs incurred by employers as a result of
employing a disabled person.