9 out of 10 "on the sick" Britons fit enough to work

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London, July 14 (ANI): Believe it or not, nine out of ten Britons report sick to get state allowance, though they are fit enough to work.

A crackdown on benefit scroungers found that the majority of the 2.7 million claimants were well enough to hold down a job.

The alarming level of absence was revealed during trials for a tough new testing regime, which found two out of three "on the sick" claimants were capable of working. The figure shot up to nine out of ten in areas of high unemployment, The Sun reports.

It paves the way for the Government to slash the 12.5 billion pounds a year cost to taxpayers for incapacity benefit handouts.

The new regulations are set to be rolled out across the UK next year.

Tory welfare reform spokesman Lord Freud called the figures "remarkable". He added: "The tragedy is that it has taken so long to tighten the system - with the effect that hundreds of thousands of people have been locked into long-term dependency."

Before the shake-up, around 65 per cent of incapacity benefit applications were approved.

Now, the claimants rejected on the Work Capability Assessment will be put on the dole rather than getting long-term ill-health benefits.

It means they qualify for less money - and must make themselves available for work.

Ministers hope the savings will ease the country's 175 billion pounds budget deficit - reducing the need for tax hikes or cuts in spending on schools and hospitals.

A Department for Work and Pensions spokesman said: "We moved to looking at what people can do rather than what they can't. We are keeping a close and constant watch over how the policy is working."

Last week, official figures showed that one million jobless Britons have been living off the state for more than 12 years, and a further 1.9 million have been on benefits for seven years or more. (ANI)

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