Alex Cunningham Highlights Tory DWP Failures

Stockton North’s MP, Alex Cunningham, has blasted the Tories as “too divided and too incompetent” to get Britain working, as new analysis reveals the Tory failure to tackle health-related worklessness in Stockton North. 

Analysis by the House of Commons Library for Labour shows that there has been a rise of 825 people in Stockton North claiming Universal Credit for health reasons over the last year. 

Between December 2022 and December 2023, all 632 parliamentary constituencies in Britain saw an increase, with new figures showing that mental ill health is a key driver behind the rise. 

A united, mission focused Government is needed to get Britain working. Labour’s plan to help tackle one of the key drivers of worklessness before it takes hold, includes:

  • Bringing down waiting times for mental health treatment by recruiting 8,500 new mental health staff
  • Access to specialist mental health support in every school
  • Mental health hubs for children and young people in every community 

Labour has also pledged to: 

  • Introduce changes to incapacity benefits to encourage disabled people and people with ill health – who are currently not required to seek work by the benefits system – to try work without fear of losing their income or having to be reassessed if the job doesn’t work out. 
  • Overhaul Access to Work, so that people know what equipment, adaptations or personal support they’ll get before they start work – giving them the confidence to take the plunge
  • Reform job centres and devolving employment support so help is tailored to individual and local need. 

In Stockton North, 4,699 people now claim Universal Credit health benefits, with the national number up by 400,000 in a year – and Government statistics show that over two thirds of all claims involve mental health problems. 

Alex has accused the Tories of failing on the economy, because they have failed on work. 2.7 million people, a near record high, are now out of work due to long term sickness; economic inactivity is no longer declining from the post-pandemic high and has instead rebounded to a total of 9.3 million people—the highest in over a decade; and Britain’s employment rate will be lower by the end of this year than forecast in November, and still not back to pre-pandemic levels by 2028-2029. 

Alex Cunningham, Labour’s Member of Parliament for Stockton North said: 

“A healthy nation is critical to a healthy economy, but the Tories have failed on both – and it is places like Stockton North paying the price. 

I know from speaking to residents across Stockton North the number who are stuck on NHS and mental health waiting lists or locked out of work due to long term sickness at terrible cost to them and to businesses in our community. 

The Tories cannot be the change from their own failings. Labour’s plan will tackle the root causes of worklessness by driving down NHS waiting lists, making work pay, and supporting people into good jobs across every part of the country, including right here in Stockton North.”