Think tank claims 6m adults will be claiming benefits
The Policy Exchange believes that the number of British adults claiming benefits will reach 6 million later this month, primarily due to rising unemployment amid the recession.
The think tank, which has made its projection on the basis of Department of Work and Pensions benefits data, said around 1.4 million people are claiming Jobseekers’ Allowance, while 2.6 million are on Employment Support (previously known as incapacity benefit).
The total also includes people claiming benefits as lone parents, as carers and because of disability.
In February, official figures revealed that there were 5.8 million British adults claiming benefits.
Last week, the Office for National Statistics revealed that the number of unemployed in the UK has risen to its highest level since 1995.
Official figures show that unemployment increased by 220,000 to 2,435,000 in the three months to June.
However, according to Neil O’Brien, Director of Policy Exchange, the benefits data showed that the real number of people not working is much higher than that.
“The narrow unemployment figures we are used to seeing tell you less and less about the real number of people who are trapped on benefits“, explains Mr O’Brien.
“To get the full picture you have to look at all the different benefits, including Incapacity Benefit and Income Support. In 1997 we spent £93 billion on social security benefits, but next year we will spend £193 billion.”
“That’s twice as much. Instead of investing in the future, we are paying the price for failing to reform the benefits system,” added Mr O’Brien.
However, a spokeswoman for the Department of Work and Pensions dismissed the report and claimed that it is “investing £5 billion to help people back into work and last month alone it helped over 330,000 people move off unemployment benefits.”