Too fat to work, acne and leprosy

Almost two thousand people who are too fat to work have been paid a total of £4.4 million in benefit, it emerged last night. Other payments went to fifty sufferers of acne and ten incapacitated by leprosy.

Billions of pounds is being paid in benefits to people claiming to be unable to work because they suffer from depression, stress, fatigue and unknown or unspecified diseases.

The full list of ailments of the 2.7 million people claiming £7.4 billion in incapacity benefits, obtained by using Freedom of Information laws, will fuel suspicion that it is being used to keep them off the official jobless total. It will also fuel the debate over whether British workers could have been hired for more of the one million new jobs taken by migrants since 1997.

The complete list of the 480 different illnesses and complaints for which people received incapacity benefit in February were released by the Department for Work and Pensions. More than £2 billion was paid in 2006-07 for mental health complaints, including £518 million to those with what are described as “unknown and unspecified” diseases.

Overall more than £1.1 billion was paid to people suffering from a depressive episode plus a further £276 million to the estimated 116,000 claimants with “other anxiety disorders” and £122 million to the estimated 50,000 suffering from a “reaction to severe stress”.

A total of 15,600 people received benefits for “malaise and fatigue” and a further 8,100 for “dizziness and giddiness”. The figures disclose that 4,000 claimants had headaches, 2,700 migraines and 1,890 suffered from eating disorders. About £100,000 in benefits went to those with acne and a similar amount to 60 people with “nail disorder”. Nausea and vomiting cost £2 million in benefits for 900 people.

Too fat to work (Daily Telegraph, 19 November 2007)