The idea that there are over a million people in Britain receiving Incapacity Benefit who are not entitled to it has driven a major strand of welfare reform for more than fifteen years, and was a cornerstone of the New Labour project. Yet this proposition was based from the beginning on selective use of evidence - and there is a persuasive alternative narrative, available from a wide range of sources, that has been determinedly overlooked by both major parties and by the media. There is of course no doubt that work is often good for health; and nor is there doubt that many people who are unfit for work might be able to return to work with appropriate support. The problem is that this case has been fatally exaggerated, while, on the other hand, large numbers of people with severe health needs – who are themselves the subject of huge investment by the Department of Health – have been treated as invisible (or, worse, as malingering) by the DWP and successive Work and Pensions ministers. It is hard to avoid the conclusion that those in charge of Work and Pensions have been driven by a compulsion to judge and to privatise, with any consideration of the population’s health needs deliberately excluded from their policy framework.
read in full here – Soundings