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Last Updated: Wednesday, 15 November 2006, 17:31 GMT
Welfare reform 'to be completed'
Disabled person
There are 2.7 million people claiming incapacity benefit
The government has promised to see through its plans to scrap the Incapacity Benefit.

The Welfare Reform Bill - carried over from the last parliamentary session - promises to "ask more" of people whose health affects their ability to work.

Ministers say this will help to create an "inclusive society with the opportunity of work open to all".

The bill also sets out plans to give councils more powers to investigate and prosecute for benefit fraud.

First proposed earlier this year, it gained its second reading in the Commons in July.

If it becomes law, incapacity benefit recipients who are deemed to have "limited capability for work" - but not limited capability for "work-related" activity - will be asked to take part in training, work trials and work-focused interviews.

If they fail to do so, they may not receive full benefits.

Work and Pensions secretary John Hutton has insisted the reforms are "radical without being punitive".

Incapacity Benefit and Jobseekers Allowance would be scrapped and replaced with a single Employment and Support Allowance for those whose health affects their ability to work.

The Conservatives and Liberal Democrats say they are broadly supportive of the proposals.

But the Lib Dems have raised concerns over safeguards for vulnerable people in the system.

About 2.7 million people currently claim Incapacity Benefit, costing 12.5bn a year.


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