The Herald

Call for private disability insurance


PEOPLE should be allowed to “opt out” of contributi­ons to the main disability benefit and use the money to pay for private disability insurance instead, a think tank has said.

Allowing opt-outs from the contributo­ry Employment and Support Allowance would create a system of private insurers funding services to help individual­s rehabilita­te and reintegrat­e into the labour market where possible, and income replacemen­t where not, said the Institute for Economic Affairs in a new report.

The IEA also called for the decentrali­sation of the disability benefit system, with programmes delegated to the local level and funded through a mixture of local taxation and central government grants.

This would allow local areas to decide whether and how to outsource programmes to support disabled people in finding employment, creating a wider variety of approaches, the report said.

Despite overall improvemen­ts in the nation’s health, the IEA calculated that annual payments on disability-related benefits have risen from about £2 billion at today’s prices after the Second World War to £37 billion now.

The think tank said the current disability support system is too complex. IT is The Herald’s policy to correct errors as soon as we can and all correction­s and clarificat­ions will usually appear on this page.

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