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Plans to change Incapacity Benefit will hit the most vulnerable in society

19 November, 2007


Sinn Féin Foyle MLA Martina Anderson has said proposed changes to Incapacity Benefit announced by Work and Pensions Secretary Peter Hain will hit the most vulnerable in society.

Ms Anderson said:

"Under proposed plans announced by Work and Pensions Secretary Peter Hain there will be changes for new applicants claiming Incapacity Benefit from the Autumn of 2008.

"Once again the British Government is targeting the most vulnerable in our society. Anyone applying for the benefit will have to take a new test, which will replace the current Personal Capability Assessment. The new medical test being introduced next year alongside the new Employment and Support Allowance, will assess what an individual can do - rather than cannot do.

"What this announcement means is that people who are already on the breadline and those who are the most marginalised in society will be faced with more form filling, more interviews, more distress, all of which will nether enhance or improve their quality of life but will have the opposite effect of removing what little security they have.

"It's always those on low income, one parent families, and the disabled who suffer from changes to the benefits system, which a lot of time is just window dressing to keep a section of the right wing press in England happy.

"Government Ministers would be better spending their time being more proactive in targeting areas of social need and creating the circumstances for jobs , investment and putting in place the infrastructure to make that happen .There needs to be proper child care and after school clubs. There needs to be better rates of pay so that people can re-enter the job market on a level playing field." ENDS

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