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Sickness, Invalid numbers a more worrying trend

Judith Collins
National Party Welfare Spokeswoman

10 November 2005


Sickness and Invalids’ numbers a more worrying trend

National’s Welfare spokeswoman, Judith Collins, says while it is encouraging that unemployment figures have fallen, a far more worrying trend is the continuing rise in Sickness and Invalids’Benefit numbers.

As at 30 September, there were 75,445 people claiming the Invalids’ Benefit and 45,615 claiming the Sickness Benefit. The numbers have steadily risen since Labour became the government in 1999.

“Instead of crowing about low unemployment numbers, Minister David Benson-Pope needs to explain how he plans to stop this worrying trend,” says Ms Collins.

“Beneficiaries are two and a half times more likely to be on Sickness and Invalids’ Benefits than on the Unemployment Benefit.

“Before the election, Labour denied beneficiaries were being dumped from the Unemployment Benefit onto the Sickness Benefit to make the numbers look good. That denial is becoming increasingly hard to believe.

“It is a worrying trend when 35 per cent of those on a Sickness Benefit are there for psychological reasons, with stress being the major issue.

“Of the 75,445 people claiming an Invalids’ Benefit, 27.1 per cent of them are too ‘psychologically damaged’ to work.

“Despite massive increases in health spending, nothing seems to be halting the increase in Sickness and Invalids’Benefit numbers. Mr Benson-Pope has a big job ahead of him,” says Ms Collins.

ENDS

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