A million to be taken off benefit - Hutton

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Indy Politics

The target will be included in a long-awaited Green Paper on welfare reform to be unveiled by John Hutton, the Work and Pensions Secretary. He intends to force claimants to take steps to return to work instead of continuing on IB, which is worth up to £20 a week more than Jobseeker's Allowance.

Under the plans, benefits could be docked by £10.93 a week if the sick and disabled refuse to attend a work-focused interview, and £21.86 for a second refusal. But the cuts would not affect those incapable of any work.

Mr Hutton will rename IB as employment and support allowance, saying its current name implies writing people off. He will urge claimants to take advantage of new help with training, rehabilitation and counselling, saying: "Work is good for you, your health, your community, the economy."

Tony Blair said yesterday that the changes would end the "perverse incentives" that encouraged people to stay on IB, which starts at £57.65 a week, rises to £68.20 after six months and to £76.45 after a year.

"There are still far too many barriers that prevent people who could work from doing so," he said.