Third of Incapacity Benefit claimants in Tower Hamlets declared fit to work

PUBLISHED: 15:00 04 May 2013

Almost one third of people claiming Incapacity Benefit in Tower Hamlets have been found fit to work – the highest proportion of any London borough.

Figures released by the Department for Work and Pensions show of the 2,980 people claiming the benefit, 940 were deemed fit to work after completing controversial ‘Work Capability Assessments’.

Those people will not be entitled to Employment and Support Allowance, which is replacing Incapacity Benefit.

Tracey Lazard, who is chief executive of disability campaign group Inclusion London, slammed the government’s assessments as “flawed and inaccurate”.

“The figures for people being found fit for work in Tower Hamlets can by no means be taken to represent the percentage of people going through the Work Capability Assessments who really are fit for work”, she said.

Campaigners claim 42 per cent of decisions on fitness to work are overturned on appeal.

Disability charity Scope added that employers must do more to help disabled people into work, and understand how to cater for their needs.

But employment minister Mark Hoban insisted changes to the system would make it “fairer and more accurate”.

A total of 20,000 Incapacity Benefit claimants across London were found fit to work in the tests.

Tower Hamlets Council also emphasised the importance of getting people into work.

“The council welcomes anything that encourages more people into work”, a spokesperson said.

“This is because employment yields numerous positive consequences: for example, lifting more children out of poverty is directly related to helping their parents into employment.”

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