MORE than double the amount of people in Bradford claimed disability benefits for the first time, research shows.
Personal Independent Payment (PIP) is awarded to people with long-term physical or mental conditions or disability who have difficulty doing certain everyday tasks or getting around.
Department for Work and Pensions figures from the Institute for Fiscal Studies think tank shows the number of new PIP claimants in Bradford more than doubled from 136 in July 2021 to 382 in July 2022.
Across England and Wales, the number of new PIP claimants also doubled over this period, from 14,800 to 32,200.
The IFS said that worsening health was likely behind the rise and that there had been an increase across every age group, and for most major conditions.
The figures come as a shadow minister says the Government "can't ignore" the growing backlog in disability assessments.
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 30,585 were entitled to PIP in Bradford 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.
Poor health and a rise in the number of people with disabilities and long-term conditions may also be impacting the economy.
The Office for National Statistics estimates that around 2.4 million people were out of work due to long-term illness across the UK between September and November.
A DWP spokesperson said it is committed to ensuring people can access support "as quickly as possible".
“We are constantly making improvements to our service by boosting resources and opening up assessments by phone and video.
“The latest statistics show clearance times have greatly improved, returning to pre-pandemic levels,” they added.
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