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Learn to count, Minister

Judith Collins MP
National Party Welfare Spokeswoman

9 November 2007

Learn to count, Minister

National’s Welfare Spokeswoman Judith Collins says new Social Development Minister Ruth Dyson needs to face the facts over the growing number of sickness and invalid beneficiaries.

“She told the House yesterday that the number of people on a sickness benefit is 1.5% of the total working-age population and the number collecting an invalid benefit is 2.4%.

“Ruth Dyson is either not up to speed with the basics of her portfolio or she deliberately misled the House.

“Based on her figures, that would mean approximately 101,000 people are on the sickness and invalid benefits whereas the actual figure is more like 127,000 working-age people.

“Ruth Dyson also needs to accept that under Labour, the number of people reliant on both benefits has risen significantly.

“The number of working-age people on the invalid benefit was 52,195 in December 1999. The number today is 78,268.

“In December 1999, there were 32,870 working-age people on the sickness benefit. Today’s figure is 48,995.

“Around 25,000 people have transferred from the unemployment benefit to the sickness benefit since Labour took office.

“This hidden form of unemployment is something the Government wants to ignore.

“Unfortunately for Labour, the figures speak for themselves.”

Ends

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