SOME of Bolton's chronically sick and disabled people are suffering such hardship since the Incapacity Benefit system was tightened that they have been driven to the brink of suicide.

A whole file of case histories has been compiled by the Bolton Unemployed Advice Centre.

And Bolton West Labour MP Ruth Kelly says she has been so shocked by "harrowing" letters she has received from people who are suffering, she is urging the government to make major changes to the system.

She is asking Social Security Secretary Harriet Harman to scrap or radically alter the All Work Test which, she claims, stops benefit for some in genuine need while allowing many fraudulent claimants to get their state cash. As well as writing directly to Mrs Harman, she is to table Commons Questions on the issue. Mrs Kelly revealed that she had been prompted to act by "a series of harrowing letters from local people who have suffered as a result of the All Work Test".

She said: "This test was introduced by the last government to weed out those who were unfairly claiming benefit.

"However, it is clear from the number of letters I receive each week on the subject that all it does is make it easier for the government to stop the benefit of those in genuine need. "Those who know how to milk the system will find ways of getting through the test, but it is the honest people, who provide full details of their claim, who are losing out.

"The system needs changing fast because some of those who have written to me are close to suicide.

"This test treats everyone as cheats and even ignores the professional advice of a claimant's own GP.

"I will be raising this matter with Harriet Harman and in the House of Commons asking for this Draconian law to be changed."

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