Review of work support for disabled people ‘could be moment penny drops on welfare’
Posted Thursday 9 June 2011
Mind is among the leading disability charities which have welcomed a Government-prompted review of job support for disabled people, which calls for a significant increase in practical workplace support.
The independent review by RADAR Chief Executive Liz Sayce, recommends a doubling of Access to Work, a pot of money that can contribute towards a support worker or equipment needed at work. It can also pay towards the cost of getting to work if public transport is not accessible.
Today’s review refers to Access to Work "as the Government’s best kept secret". Sayce argues that it isn’t promoted effectively and calls for moves to raise awareness among employers.
Speaking as the Sayce Review is published, the Disability Charities Consortium (DCC), said it hoped the Government would not only accept the recommendations – but take on board the importance of ensuring that disabled people have access to all the support they need to gain and retain paid work.
Paul Farmer, Chief Executive of Mind, said:
This needs to be the moment when the penny drops for Iain Duncan Smith on how best to support disabled people during difficult economic times. Some 50% of disabled people don't have a job and over a million disabled people will be expected to look for work.
This review – instigated by the Department for Work and Pensions – backs a focus on tailored, targeted services that offer practical support to overcome the barriers disabled people face in the real world. Access to Work is indeed the Government’s best kept secret – it’s time to spread the word.
Doubling the number of people that can access the fund would make a huge difference when it comes to encouraging employers to consider offering a job to a disabled person.
Overall, while this review is welcome it is clear that a much wider programme of support and investment is needed to tackle the chronic unemployment levels of disabled people. This must be the first step in the process, not the last.
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