DAA News Network

UK: Report says UK recovery depends on being tougher on those claiming disability benefits

Posted 15/7-10 at 18.34

The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) has published an action plan for the growth of the UK economy. One of its key recommendations is that the government make it more difficult to claim disability benefits.

 

For example, they say it is necessary to, "... Strengthen participation requirements beyond the current mandatory interviews. For instance, make actions identified during these interviews increasingly compulsory and consider introducing similar requirements for as many current disability benefit recipients as possible."

 

Interestingly, the report also points out that economic recovery in the UK is being held back because high levels of poverty and income inequality.


http://www.oecd.org/dataoecd/57/11/45642018.pdf

 

Editorial comment: The author of the report seems to ignore the fact that disabled people make up one the largest group of ‘the poor'. Furthermore, moving anyone from benefits to employment is problematic in a rapidly shrinking job market. That task is all the more difficult for disabled people, many of whom want to find work, but face an uphill task because of employers' negative attitudes and lack of real support in the workplace and at home.

 

The OECD report adds to an increasing chorus in government and the media that suggest if only spending on ‘non-productive' benefits could be reduced it would ease pressure to make cuts elsewhere. Of course, without benefits that are intended, but generally don't, cover the substantial additional costs of impairment and disability, disabled people couldn't survive, let alone work and be ‘productive'.

The assumption underlying all this anti-benefits rhetoric is not only that the cost of benefits is a drag on the economy, but also that those claiming benefits are cheats and/ or scroungers. However, the real cheats and scroungers are to be found elsewhere - mainly in the boardrooms of large ‘respectable' companies. Here tax avoidance, which is legal, costs the country between £3.7 and £13 billion per year. Tax evasion, which is illegal, is estimated at an additional £15 billion. At the same time, fraud related to Disability Living Allowance and Incapacity Benefit are only 0.5% of spending on these benefits, at £90 million.

The OECD report does not mention either tax avoidance or tax evasion as a problem for the UK economy. No, the problem for the economy is that poor and disabled people are enjoying a free ride at public expense. The solution? Turn the screw even tighter.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2009/feb/02/tax-gap-avoidance
http://citywire.co.uk/new-model-adviser/tax-evasion-costs-treasury-15-times-more-than-benefit-fraud/a378274

 

 

Comments:

Comment added 16/7-10 at 10.02 by: Robert Charig (robertcharig@yahoo.co.uk)

A lifetime on state benefits is an obvious career choice for me. Being challenged as a fake and a fraud for my hidden disabilities is obviously far more rewarding than the six figure salary I would be earning as an English Solicitor practising law. It makes me feel all the years of study and all the expenditure were so worthwhile. Obviously, as my neighbour likes to remind me, I'm just lazy!

Comment added 16/7-10 at 09.58 by: Robert Charig (robertcharig@yahoo.co.uk)

A lifetime on state benefits is an obvious career choice for me. Being challenged as a fake and a fraud for my hidden disabilities is obviously far more rewarding than the six figure disabilities I would be earning as an English Solicitor practising law. It makes me feel all the years of study and all the expenditure were so worthwhile. Obviously, as my neighbour likes to remind me, I'm just lazy!

Add your comment:

Written by:
Email:
Comment: