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JOB 'CURE' FOR 1M ILL.

A CRACKDOWN to get a million people off Britain's sick list starts tomorrow.

Anyone who claims sickness benefit faces a tough medical and won't get the new Employment and Support Allowance if they refuse a suitable job offer. Drug addicts could lose benefit unless they can prove they are getting treatment.

Under the new system only disabled people "with the greatest needs" and fulltime carers will be exempt from having to find work.

Work and Pensions Secretary James Purnell, who has scrapped Incapacity Benefit for new claimants, wants to to get one million people off benefits and into work within eight years

He said: "With the launch of ESA, people will get the support they need to make the most of their lives, get off benefits and back into work. For the most vulnerable there will be more cash to make sure they have the support they need." A spokesman added: "The new medical test is designed to look at what people can do rather than what they can't."

Those with the severest disabilities and the least well-off will get a minimum of pounds 102.10 a week.

But while new claimants are "assessed", they will get a basic payment of only pounds 60.50 a week (pounds 47.95 for under-25s) for the first 13 weeks.

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Publication:Sunday Mirror (London, England)
Date:Oct 26, 2008
Words:221
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