In total about 75% of people on sickness benefits were found fit for work. In fact 37% of would-be claimants withdrew their claim once they knew they would be tested which says something.
Now the Guardian has reported (29 April 2011) that “40% of fitness to work appeals are successful”. Putting this in context if 75% of people were thought fit for work it means 25% weren’t. Of the original 75% half withdrew their claim leaving 38% who believed they should be on incapacity benefits.
The Guardian doesn’t say how many people actually appealed but assuming that ALL of the 38% appealed that means that the 40% of those equals 15%. Add that to the original 25% and it brings the total of those on sickness benefit and unfit to work at the most to to 40%.
So based on these samples at least 60% of the 2.6 million people on incapacity benefits are fit for work given the right support but are presently costing the UK about £8 Billion pounds.
Whether there are jobs for them is a different matter. Burnley, one of the pilot sites, has a brand spanking new Job Centre. Clicking on the web-site shows you that clients don’t think much of the service as the feedback ratings are only 2 out of 5 for quality, promptness, service, knowledge and location. Clicking on the vacancies section takes you to several other sites advertising “thousands of jobs” but, depending on which site you looked at it was either 149 or 407.
It’s convenient for the government to forget – because people have short memories – that it was the previous tory government which, in an attempt to massage the unemployment figures, encouraged people to transfer to sickness benefits. And many people have been on them ever since.