People who are off sick with depression are to be forced back to work by the government which claims they are depressed because they have no jobs.
Legislation will force thousands to attend meetings at job centres where they will be told there is no reason they cannot work despite their health problems, reports the Daily Mirror.
Schemes to encourage people to get jobs, such as Pathways to Work, will be rolled out across the country.
Employment and welfare minister Margaret Hodge told the newspaper: “This is about using the carrot as well as the stick. More often than not, people who are on incapacity benefit develop problems such as depression because it is a very demoralising experience to be sitting around on benefits.
“We are very sympathetic to that and know those with mental health problems will naturally have lost their confidence and be nervous about trying to find work,” Hodge said.
People with physical disabilities will also be given appointments with advisers to steer them into work suited to their condition. Those who do get jobs will be rewarded with a £40 back-to-work benefit.
GPs are also being warned not to sign people off unless they have genuine illnesses. Doctors will be censured if they consistently fail to weed out malingerers.