Former mining towns top incapacity benefit claims list

Merthyr Tydfil, in Wales, and Easington, County Durham, are the two British towns with the highest proportion of people claiming incapacity benefit, according to a report.

Both towns have 20.5% of working age population claiming the benefit. The two towns, both former centres of the mining industry, top a table of 30 regions in the UK with the highest percentage of claimants.

The report was compiled by the left-wing think-tank Catalyst and Sheffield Hallam University.

The report’s authors claim that planned government reforms to the benefits system will have little impact in areas with high percentages of claimants unless more jobs are created.

The Department of Work and Pensions said the number of people on incapacity benefit was starting to fall and the government was making headway.

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