The number of people claiming incapacity benefit has soared from 67,000 when Labour came to power to 2.6million today.Er, bollocks, matey. According to every piece of data I've managed to find - with just a few minutes abuse of google - the numbers claiming benefits in the mid to late 90s was over 2 million ( here qnd here (2)).
The handouts are estimated to cost the taxpayer £12.5billion a year. (1)
The numbers claiming Incapacity Benefit did in deed 'soar' - all throughout the 80s and the early 90s. From about 1995-6 onwards, they stabalized, but well above 2 million. The Mail's claim iof 67,000 on Incapacity Benefits in 1997 is either spectaculr incompetence or politically motivated dishonesty.
1 - "Just one in six incapacity benefit claimants 'is genuine' as tough new test reveals TWO MILLION could be cheating," by Kirsty Walker. Published in The Daily Mail, 14th of October, 2009. (http://www.cles.org.uk/files/101187/FileName/No.49-worklesssness-newapproaches.pdf)
2 - For example, see figure 4 in "Adopting New Approaches to Complex Issues: Worklessness and The Cities Strategy," by Matthew Jackson. Published by The Centre For Local Economic Strategies, in theier Bulletin online magazine, Number 49. This gives a total figure of 2.5 million from 1996 onwards, falling slightly in recent years. (http://www.cles.org.uk/files/101187/FileName/No.49-worklesssness-newapproaches.pdf). Alternately, consult "Has the boom in Incapacity Benefit claimant numbers passed its peak?" by Michael Anyadike-Danes and Duncan McVicar, a paper published by The University of Sheffield, in 2007. (http://wpeg.group.shef.ac.uk/papers2007/47AnyadikeDanes.pdf). Their figures confirm a total of around 2.25 million for 1996. See the data on page 5 and the chart on page 22.