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Last Updated: Tuesday, 28 August 2007, 00:18 GMT 01:18 UK
City 'closing' health benefit gap
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About one in seven adult Glaswegians claim incapacity benefit
The number of people claiming incapacity benefit in Glasgow has fallen by more than 20% in five years, according to new research.

The study said Glasgow was still the city with the highest proportion of people claiming the benefit in the UK.

But it said the gap with the rest of Scotland was closing.

The number of people moving onto incapacity benefit in Glasgow fell by 21% between 2000 and 2005, compared to a 16% fall in the country as a whole.

The figures showed that almost 62,000 Glaswegians, 16% of its working-age adults, received the benefit in 2005.

Experts said many of those claiming incapacity benefit could work if given the right job and support.

The research was commissioned by Glasgow's Centre for Population Health and carried out by a team from the University of Glasgow and the city council.

We know that some of these people, about 35-40%, could work given the right type of job and the right type of support
Mick Rodger
Glasgow City Council

It showed that half of claims are made on the basis of mental health problems, while up to 35% of men over the age of 55 are apparently too ill to work. The majority of claimants have been receiving incapacity benefit for more than five years.

However, the study claimed that progress was now being made, with the number of people moving onto incapacity benefit in Glasgow falling by 21% since 2000.

The research team was led by Dr Ewan Macdonald, who said its findings would be used to help shape the city's strategy for getting more people off incapacity benefits and back into work.

He added: "The good news is that things are improving, numbers on benefits are reducing, and fewer people are going onto incapacity benefit now.

"While historically much of the effort has been to get people off benefits, this study shows the importance of reducing the flow onto benefits, and we need to continue to do more to help people stay in healthy and safe jobs."

Mick Rodger, economics and social initiatives manager at Glasgow City Council, said: "Glasgow has relatively more people on health related benefits than any other city in the UK.

"We know that some of these people, about 35-40%, could work given the right type of job and the right type of support.

"However, we do not yet fully understand all of the problems and barriers that prevent these people from taking up employment. Anything which helps us to better understand this group is therefore to be strongly welcomed."

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