More than 100 more new disability claims in Wigan – as number doubles nationally
More than 100 more people claimed disability benefits in Wigan in July than a year earlier, research shows – as the number doubled across England and Wales.
The figures come as a shadow minister says the Government "can't ignore" the growing backlog in disability assessments.
The personal independent payment is awarded to people with long-term physical or mental conditions, in order to help them continue with everyday tasks.
Analysis of Department and Work and Pensions figures from the Institute for Fiscal Studies think tank shows the number of new claimants in Wigan rose from 95 in July 2021 to 225 in July 2022.
Across England and Wales, the number of new PIP claimants doubled over this period, from 14,800 to 32,200.
The IFS said worsening health was likely behind the rise and that there had been an increase across every age group, and for most major conditions.
Nationally, around a third of new claims were for mental or behavioural conditions, with the proportion rising to 70 per cent among those aged under 25.
Sam Ray-Chaudhuri, a research economist at the organisation said: “Whatever the cause, significantly greater spending on disability benefits looks like it will be one of the consequences of this concerning trend.”
More recent figures show 20,315 were entitled to PIP in Wigan as of July – putting them among 2.7 million people entitled to the benefit across England and Wales.
The IFS also found that more than 250,000 people were waiting to have their disability claims assessed as of July.
Jonathan Ashworth, the shadow work and pensions secretary, said ministers "can’t ignore these findings".
“The backlog in assessments for disability benefits must be tackled and employment support must be reformed, as Labour has proposed, to offer specialist help to those who want to find work,” he said.