Ian Duncan Smith has unveiled plans to force terminally ill people to stock shelves

Ian Duncan Smith has unveiled plans to force terminally ill people to stock shelves

Those with terminal cancer and other severe diseases in the UK face being forced to stock shelves in Tesco and doing other work experience or face losing their benefits, it has been revealed.

The government announced that those with more than six months to live could have to do work experience or see their payments slashed under the scheme by Work and Pensions Minister Iain Duncan Smith.

Unlike fit and healthy job seekers, there will be no limit on how long those claiming Employment and Support Allowance are expected to do unpaid work.

This means that someone who is practically on their deathbed, may be forced to work indefinitely in places such as Sainsbury’s and Morrisons, for less than £64 per week.

Initially, the Department for Work and Pensions claimed the plans were nonsense.

A spokeswoman said: “No-one on ESA will be forced to do work experience.”

But she later admitted private firms paid by the Government to push people back into work will be able to compel disabled people to take placements or lose money.

Neil Coyle, of pressure group Disability Rights UK, said: “The idea that disabled people should work but receive no financial recognition for contributing is perhaps a level of abuse in and of itself.”

“When Conservative backbench MP Philip Davies suggested disabled people should work for less than the national minimum wage he was castigated. But it now appears to be Government policy,” he added.

More than 8,000 claimants had their payments cut or were hit with other sanctions in the 12 months to August for missing interviews – even if it was because they were in hospital or in a coma.

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