Conservatives plan to ‘privatise’ job-finding for disabled people

Voluntary groups and private companies would take over the task of finding jobs for 2.6 million incapacity benefit claimants, under Conservative proposals announced yesterday.

The shadow work and pensions secretary, David Willetts, outlined his five-point plan, saying his party would not place new pressures on claimants to attend work-focused interviews, as Labour intends.

Willetts’ plan is designed to offer assistance to 900,000 people over four years. Private and voluntary sector providers would be given £1,000 by the state to cover the cost of vocational rehabilitation, he said.

Later this week, the work and pensions secretary, Alan Johnson, is expected to announce plans an overhaul of the benefits system, including ending flat rate benefit and setting clearer requirements for those deemed capable of working.

Under Labour’s plan it is likely that the 20 per cent deemed to be completely incapable of working will be placed on a different benefit.

The prime minister will outline the reforms today when he will have to admit there are 100,000 more people claiming incapacity benefits than when they were last reformed five years ago.

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