The government has announced it is to close a loophole in which thousands of able-bodied young military personnel are abusing the benefits system by travelling to Afghanistan and other places in the Middle East and returning to the UK without limbs in order to claim disability benefits.
Government ministers say under the system put into place by the previous Labour administration – cheats can use a loophole in the benefit rules which allows people to join the armed forces and be sent to places like Afghanistan where they can be blown up and shot at, thereby enabling them to claim thousands of pounds in disability benefits on their return to the country.
The government is tackling the problem with a two-pronged attack. Firstly, they are reducing the military’s effectiveness by cutting the number of armed forces personnel by 25% – thereby ensuring more of its members are killed outright rather than become maimed or injured and avoiding the need to pay out any disability benefits to them at all. Secondly, they are limiting the amount of disabled service people eligible for disability benefits by treating them all as lazy, feckless scroungers who need to go out and find a job even though very few real jobs actually exist.
In a written statement, defence minister Mark Francois explained the need for the clampdown:
It’s very clear that under New Labour the amount of people in our armed forces getting shot at and blown up by foreigners increased dramatically.
However, we also know that many military personnel are abusing the system by deliberately leaving the country perfectly healthy and returning home minus one, two or sometimes even three or four of their limbs in order that they can claim disability benefits.
This is clearly a situation which cannot be allowed to continue and that is why this government is committed to clamping down on the hundreds of skivers who think they can come over here and live off taxpayers’ hard-earned money just by joining the army and getting themselves blown-up.
Mr Francois also stressed it was imperative the government takes firm action now, before a new wave of disability claimants is expected to arrive from Mali and other parts of North Africa in the next few months.
Yes I know it’s offensive. It’s meant to be. Like all disabled people, injured servicemen and women are also being treated like scroungers and having their benefits cut by the government:
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