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08th November 2011

Drop in benefit claimants forecast at 600,000

A new report has warned about the negative impact the Government's plans to reform the incapacity benefit system could have on UK households.

As many as 600,000 people may have to leave the country's benefits system as a result of the proposed reforms, according to Sheffield Hallam University researchers.

Wales, Scotland and the North of England will be the worst-hit areas, the report from the experts indicates.

Within the coming three years, the current number of incapacity benefit claimants will drop by nearly one million, it found.

Report co-author Professor Steve Fothergill said benefit rule changes and tougher medical tests are among the measures which could lead to a reduction in claimants.

He added: "The reduction does not mean that there is currently widespread fraud, or that the health problems and disabilities are anything less than real.

"Our estimates of the impact of the reforms are based on experience in the pilot areas and on the Department for Work and Pensions' own assumptions about the impact on benefit claimants."

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