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David Freud suggests that less than a third of those claiming incapacity benefit are legitimate claimants.

What: Freud, an investment banker who was working at the time as a government welfare adviser, claims in an interview with the Daily Telegraph that fewer than a third of the 2.7 million people claiming incapacity benefit were legitimate claimants.

Why significant: Adds to the rhetoric that disabled recipients of benefits are “scroungers” and “frauds”. Purnell (work and pensions secretary from 2008-2009) later admits that the figure of one million incapacity benefit claimants fit for work was plucked out of the air, and research has shown that the health data that was available at the time did not support this figure.


'Two million 'wrongly get benefit', BBC, 2008
'Welfare is a mess, says adviser David Freud', Sylvester and Thomson 2008