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Budget '97: Boost of pounds 200m for disabled

The sick and disabled received a boost from the windfall fund in yesterday's Budget as the Department of Social Security said that it aimed to "tackle social division and worklessness".

The Chancellor announced pounds 200m for the disabled which will help them to receive training or get a job, in a similar New Deal to that set up for lone parents.

The Royal National Institute for the Blind said last night that 80,000 more disabled people would be able to take advantage of welfare to work as a result of the action. "This is extremely good news," said a spokesman. "We're delighted. We need to wait for the details but it seems many more disabled people will be able to benefit from welfare to work."

Harriet Harman, Secretary of State for Social Security, said last night that the scheme was to benefit all: "My department's spending will no longer be used as an alternative to the proper strategy of ensuring that all of our people share in our economic prosperity," she said.