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Benefits claimed by Four Million with ‘no interest in finding work’

Over 3.9 million people, are on means-tested benefits with no work requirement, new figures have shown.

The figure is up by a fifth in just three years. Analysis suggests repeated crackdowns on jobseekers have pushed more people to claim for health conditions.

More than 1.5 million people are on out-of-work benefits who have to look for a job or prepare to do so.

Rishi Sunak is introducing fresh measures to squeeze benefits to fund tax cuts for working people.

He said: “We should be encouraging everyone who can to work”, as this would “make sure that we can sustainably cut taxes.”

However, the Prime Minister is being warned toughening the benefits system has constituted a “false economy” as it pushes Britons towards more expensive health-related benefits.

Recent news will come as further concern to the Treasury after the Office for Budget Responsibility warned a record 9.3 million people out of the workforce were hindering the UK’s economic recovery.

A record 2.8 million people have been classified as long-term sick, up 200,000 compared to last year.

Consultancy firm Policy in Practice compiled data for The Times showing 3.9 million people were out of work while claiming a range of means-tested benefits without any work requirements.

The number of people claiming benefits to look for a job or prepare to do so witnessed a pandemic surge before dropping slightly to 1.6 million.

Deven Ghelani, the chief executive of Policy in Practice, said previous reforms had created a “structural incentive” to claim incapacity benefits.

Cuts to Universal Credit even seemingly led to an increase in applications for more expensive benefits with no work requirements.

He added: “There is also a risk for people who try to come out.

“Once you’re in the ‘no work requirements’ group you can’t be sanctioned and, understandably, people don’t want to risk losing that protection.”

A Department for Work & Pensions spokesman said: “While inactivity is still lower than in 2010, we are taking the long-term decisions to help everyone who can work to do so, improving lives and growing the economy.

“Our welfare reforms will cut the number of people due to be placed in the highest tier of incapacity benefits by over 370,000 — people who will now receive personalised support back to work.”

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