Wednesday, 26 May 2010



SNP MSP Bill Kidd has called for any further changes to employment support allowance and the benefit system to be firm but fair after Citizens Advice Scotland revealed that people are being wrongly categorised by the benefits system and that some people with serious illnesses are being forced into work.

A new report from Citizens Advice Scotland has highlighted the high number of cases in which people have been placed on job seekers allowance - for those who are fit to work - instead of employment support allowance which supports those who are currently unable to work due to illness.

As preparations are underway to review the ability to work of all those claiming the old incapacity benefit allowance and the Tory-Liberal government plans a further reform of the welfare system the Glasgow MSP who will join a parliamentary debate on the issue tomorrow (Thursday) said:

"The welfare and benefits system must be firm but fair. Those who can work should be encouraged to do so, but where people are genuinely unable to work through ill health or disability we must ensure there is support available.

"For people genuinely suffering illness or debilitating conditions to be told they are fit to work and pushed into jobs they will not be able to do seems to defeat the point of the system and is a fundamental failure of Labour's reforms.

"Concerns have been raised in the past that health checks and assessments are being conducted by private companies who are paid not to ensure people receive the right support but to get people off the benefits list - even if they genuinely need help. With more people about to go through the assessment system and further reforms planned by the Tory-Liberal coalition it is essential that the system remains firm but fair."

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