Rowen Welcomes Government's Incapacity Benefit Consultation!

February 21, 2006 2:20 PM

Rochdale MP Paul Rowen is being consulted on his views on Incapacity Benefit by the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, after it was revealed that Rochdale has one of the highest number of people on Incapacity Benefit in the UK.

Paul said: "Incapacity Benefit is a shambles, and I'm glad that the Labour Party has woken up to it at last. Obviously there needs to be a safety net for people who can't work due to ill health, but at the moment the system simply isn't working.

"It can't be a co-incidence that the areas with the highest numbers of people on the benefit happen in the most deprived areas of Britain. In Rochdale we have 7,800 people on the benefit - the 20th highest in the country!

"Rather than simply writing people off like this, wouldn't it be better to encourage people to find the right job for them, giving them all the assistance they need? When people are able to work it is important for their self esteem, as well as the taxpayer, that they do.

"I will be replying to the Work and Pensions Secretary to explain my views. I will also ask for re-assurance that he's trying to make a real difference and improve people's lives, rather than just massaging the statistics to get more favourable headlines.

"Just two months ago I unearthed figures that showed that even when people did stop receiving incapacity benefit in Rochdale, only a tiny proportion found employment. Labour needs to stop this wasteful paper-shuffling and take some real action."