20 January 1994
What: The Social Security (Incapacity for Work) Bill and an accompanying research paper are published. The research paper examines the reasons for rising IVB claims. The role of GPs is mentioned numerous times, for example: “Reducing the role of GPs has been a measure designed to assist in restricting access to benefit.” But it also suggests that the main cause of increasing numbers on the benefit is the longer duration of claims. The research paper understates the actual number of disabled people on IVB as it fails to include those who only receive National Insurance credits but do not receive IVB payments.
Why significant: Understating of claimant numbers suggests that the government was not aware of exactly how many disabled people were on IVB. It also shows early discussions about reducing the role of GPs in deciding disabled people’s access to benefits (a practice that will be found to be harmful with the later introduction of the Work Capability Assessment).