More than four in ten of Bradford’s sickness benefit claimants are being told to get a job, it has been revealed.
The impact of controversial new tests on people in the area receiving incapacity benefit has been published for the first time and the figures show hundreds of people have already been judged “fit for work”.
So far, 43 per cent have been told to look for a job in the district, above the national average of 37 per cent.
This means about 7,700 of the city’s 18,000 incapacity benefit claimants are likely to be deemed fit for work by the time all have been tested.
Employment Minister Chris Grayling said the figures proved the benefits system had been “a waste of human life”, adding: “Too many people have been left languishing on benefits for too long.”
In Bradford, 470 of the 1,210 test results published so far came out as fit for work, while 300 people were told they would be able to work with the right support.
Only 29 per cent were told they could continue to receive the payment without having to look for work.
The Work Capability Assessments, carried out by French company Atos, have been controversial with disability charities calling for them to be suspended.
There have been a large number of appeals against the assessments, with about 40 per cent of findings across the country being overturned, suggesting a number of those told to return to work will be able to carry on claiming.
Critics said the test failed to identify mental health conditions and vilified disabled people as benefit cheats.
It was introduced by Labour in 2008 as an attempt to weed out incapacity benefits claimants who were judged fit to do some form of work. It was originally used on new applicants for Employment Support Allowance, which replaced Incapacity Benefit, but the coalition Government decided to expand it to existing claimants.
Mr Grayling added: “We are providing support to those who need it, but it is right that those who are able to work should do so.”