Did Britain really become a nation of benefit scroungers under Labour?

Did Britain really become a nation of benefit scroungers under Labour? This is the type of rhetoric that has pointed many to mark their vote in the Tory box on polling day. The reality couldn’t be any more different.

With the Department for Work and Pensions proposing to reassess every individual recipient on incapacity benefits, they have issued a call for evidence. Within the document is a graph displaying the caseload over time from 1978 to 2009.

What the data shows is that the caseload stayed pretty much at the same levels that Labour inherited in 1997. The sharp rises occurred under Tory years from 1986 to 1995.

Source: Department for Work and Pensions
Source: Department for Work and Pensions

These rises are not necessarily a bad thing as prior to the increased caseloads, it could have meant that those that should have had extra support to meet their additional needs.

Now, the Tories are proposing a reversal in the changes that occurred under their watch to take the caseload numbers down. My concern is that vulnerable people who need extra support to help them carry out their daily routines will have support withdrawn from them and find themselves struggling to cope with the financial pressures on them and not being able to live their lives with dignity as many didn’t in the early 1980s.

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