Government to offer jobs to support to people on incapacity benefit

More than 160,000 people in communities blighted by dependence on incapacity benefits will get rehabilitation and jobs support, work and pensions secretary David Blunkett has announced.

Some of the worst affected areas – Glasgow, Cumbria, West Lancashire and the Tees Valley, will join the Pathways to Work support scheme.

Blunkett said: “Nearly all people coming on to incapacity benefits want and expect to get back to work. Our job is to help them to surmount the barriers they face. This is not just good for the individual but for the local community and economy too, so that skills and potential do not go to waste.”

New benefit claimants will be assigned a skilled personal adviser for monthly, work-focused interviews. They can be referred to NHS rehabilitation programmes and access training courses. This support is also available for those already on the benefit.

This is the first step in the expansion of Pathways to Work to one third of people on incapacity benefits, as set out in the Chancellor’s Pre-Budget speech in December 2004.

A further nine areas will run from next April and an additional three from October 2006.

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