Government wants to know how Burnley people have fared in Incapacity Benefit changes

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The Work and Pensions Committee is holding an open meeting on Monday in Burnley to hear the views of the public on the Government’s initiative to move people currently claiming Incapacity Benefit to the new Employment and Support Allowance.

The process is being piloted in the Burnley area and the committee is keen to hear the views of people who have been through the assessment process.

People claiming Incapacity Benefit will undergo a work capability assessment to assess whether they are fit for work or need to continue to claim benefits which reflect their limited capacity to work. Trials of the reassessment process began in October in Burnley and Aberdeen and the Government’s aim is for national rollout of the new scheme by April.

The open meeting will start at 2 p.m. at Burnley Football Club and committee chairman Dame Anne Begg said: “The Committee has heard many concerns, particularly from disabled people currently claiming Incapacity Benefit, about their experiences of this assessment. We are therefore keen to get out of Westminster and see how the pilot is working on the ground.

“We want to encourage as many of those who have been affected, and their families and friends who may have been affected too, to come along to our meeting and air their views. The Government has an ambitious timetable to roll out these changes nationally, so it is important we understand how well the pilots have really worked. We cannot afford to get this wrong.”