Disability benefits are costing Britain more than almost any other western country. The revelation in a report by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development will add fuel to the Government’s drive to cut back on the handout. The OECD figures show that Britain spends 2.4 per cent of national output on the benefit – more than France, Germany, Italy or Spain. The share of GDP is more than double the 1 per cent in the US – and six times Japan’s 0.4 per cent.
The average among the 34 OECD members – all industrialised states – is 1.3 per cent. Only Norway and Iceland spent more: 2.8 per cent.
The study found that the share of British GDP spent on disability soared by a third between 2005 and 2009. Elsewhere spending was almost flat in the same period.
Matthew Sinclair, of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said: ‘Britain cannot ignore the huge rise in the number of people claiming disability benefit.
‘Welfare is there to help the most vulnerable but for too long it simply consigned people to a life on benefits regardless of what they were capable of.
‘Reforms must ensure that help is available to get those who can work into employment, while ensuring the whole system remains affordable to taxpayers.’
The study found that Britain spends 0.5 per cent of its GDP on sickness handouts such as incapacity benefits.
Sickness and disability made up 12 per cent of UK social spending. The average across the OECD is 9.2 per cent.
A record 3.2million people in Britain claim some form of disability benefit – at a cost to taxpayers of more than £13billion a year.
Around half a million people on disability benefits stand to lose it all under plans by Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith.
Two million claimants of the main payment, disability living allowance, will be reassessed over the next four years.
The DLA, which helps people pay for the extra costs of mobility and care associated with their condition, is worth up to £120 a week.
It is being replaced by a new, more stringent benefit called personal independence payment. All claimants will have to undergo a medical check – which does not happen in about half cases at the moment.
And there will be a drive to repeat the checks at intervals to ensure that those whose condition improves do not get payments for life.
However, Esther McVey, minister for disabled people, said: ‘We rightly continue to spend around £50billion a year on disabled people and their services.
‘The UK continues to be a world leader in the rights for disabled people.’
The Daily Mail revealed on Monday that taxpayers fork out more than £4million every single year on incapacity benefit for people who are obese.
Almost 1,000 people receive the hand-out for no other reason than they are grossly overweight – costing us £11,000 every single day. And two thirds of them have been languishing on the sick for more than five years.
Official statistics also demonstrate a sharp rise in the amount paid every year in IB for drug addicts and alcoholics.
Over the past decade, no less than £1.2billion has been spent on IB for fat people and those with addictions.
In another benefits scandal, it also emerged earlier this week that record numbers were receiving winter fuel payments from the UK despite living abroad.
Almost 74,000 received the payment of £200 or more in 2011/12, even though they have moved to sunnier climes. This is more than a thousand more than the previous year.