James Purnell is following in Peter Hain's footsteps as Work and Pensions minister in more ways than one. His approach to incapacity benefit is equally prescriptive, no doubt dictated by the Treasury.
Commenting on last week’s Public Accounts Committee report, "Helping
people from workless households into work", Liberal Democrat Shadow Work
and Pensions Secretary, Danny Alexander said:
“This report highlights problems that have been evident for a long-time:
the Government’s one-size-fits-all programmes are ignoring hard to reach
groups that must be supported back into work.
“A fifth of Incapacity Benefit claimants suffer mental health problems,
yet the Government has done nothing to support this group back into work.
Ministers seem content to leave them stagnating on sick pay for six months
before getting involved.
“Rather than threatening to evict people from workless households, the
Government should start by getting its own house in order.”
The Conservatives also proceed from the assumption that people on benefits are scroungers. But when was the last time a Tory knocked on a door in Croeserw?