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I think the report simply explains the mechanics of how people may slide from one category to the other. How fraudulent their intentions are is immaterial for the purposes of comparison between countries, unless we postulate that some nationalities have a greater inbuilt bias towards fraud than others, and I doubt we could prove that...

My point is to say that (irrespective of how and why it happens) the UK has significant numbers of long-term unemployed on the sick list, and that this throws doubt on the generally-admitted unemployment rate. Secondly, that this is well-known and well-documented, yet the media keep on running with the wrong ball.

Just a further point touching on your edifying tale of the 50-year-old bloke. The regions of the UK where Incapacity Benefit numbers are high are depressed formerly industrial areas where low-skilled workers have been left high and dry (from the point of view of new job offers). No doubt there are some who claim benefit and do odd jobs on the black -- following their strict and simple economic interest. The only thing that's on offer for them is to move to where the jobs are. The jobs in the UK are in London and its region. But high rents and house prices make it impossible to move there for people of modest means. These are not smart guys gaming the system, they are victims of brutal industrial closures. And no, they're not out there playing golf.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Oct 24th, 2005 at 02:46:44 AM EST
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