New target for blunkett

In a new take on the Norman Tebbit “get on your bikes” theme, secretary of state for works and pensions David Blunkett is urging those on benefits to switch off daytime TV, get off their sofas and find themselves a job. If only life were that simple.

There is already an estimated one million plus people with disabilities who want to work but can’t, often because employers are not able to offer the flexibility needed by those whose fitness to work varies from day to day. Meanwhile the quality of advice they are receiving at Jobcentres is sometimes very poor.

Of course, the fact that numbers on incapacity benefit are four times that of 30 years ago suggests there may well be some dodgy claims in there. And the headline figure of £3bn a year lost to benefit fraud and administrative errors – if it is true – is shocking to say the least.

But why ratchet up the tone of the debate now? The government’s Pathways to Work scheme is proving highly successful in helping those on sickness and disability benefits to move into employment. Why not continue to put more resources into that and highlight the programme’s success stories?

Blunkett’s veiled threats do nothing constructive to tackle the real issue. His tough talking certainly gets him in the headlines, but hasn’t he had enough of that by now?

More from Community Care

Comments are closed.