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Government plan to swipe benefits from unemployed disabled people

woman in a wheelchair holding up a sign which reads unemployed

The government is about to announce plans to force disabled people into work or swipe them from their benefits.

Over the weekend chancellor Jeremy Hunt told ministers they needed to "take difficult decisions to reform the welfare state".

One idea floating around is that the government will use October’s lowest inflation figure , 4.6 percent, for the rise opposed to September’s highest number of 6.7 percent in order to make savings.

But the proposed plan has been criticised by charities and the opposition who say vulnerable people will be the hardest hit.

On Monday Prime Minister Rishi Sunak targeted the two million people currently unemployed saying it was a “national scandal” and it was “not sustainable for the country".

Chief secretary to the Treasury, Laura Trott, told Sky News: "I think that if you can work, as a principle, you should work, and that is what the government believes, that's been the thrust of all of our policies.

"Of course, there should be support for people to help them into work or to help them with issues that they're facing.

"But ultimately there is a duty on citizens that if they are able to go out to work, that's what they should do."

Trott, who was a minister for the Department for Work and Pensions, said the DWP are "working very hard to make sure our welfare system is supporting those who need support".

But, she added: "Those who can work, can contribute, should contribute. And that is the principle that we must keep throughout all of this."

Shadow work and pension secretary, Liz Kendall, said she was a "big supporter of flexible working and working from home".

Ms Kendall however believes the government needs to offer more support for disabled people and those suffering from mental health conditions who are out of work.

She said: "It's very interesting to see Rishi Sunak railing against the fact millions of people are out of work due to long-term sickness, saying it's a scandal they've been written off. Well, who's done that?

 "What those people want is access to the talking therapies they need to deal with anxiety and depression.

"They need adaptations at work or at home if they have a disability, and we are seeing huge waits for people to get adaptations - both at home and in the workplace.

"We strongly believe in work. But the government has failed to achieve that and instead of railing against the problems that they themselves have created, we need to see a proper plan."

[ In January to March 2023, 342,000 working-age disabled people were unemployed. ]

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