New data reveals UK government’s benefit changes to force disabled people into non-existent job market
Four in five recruiters said there has been a reduction in home-based role since the end of the pandemic
Figures follow UK government’s assertion that more disabled people can work because of increased availability of remote jobs since the pandemic
Mind campaigns for change ahead of expected Autumn Statement support cuts
New research carried out with 2,000 recruiters across England and Wales has revealed a drop in home-based roles since the pandemic – with more than four in five recruiters (84%) saying they had seen a reduction since it ended.
The findings come after the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) recently claimed the benefits system does not reflect changes to the job market, such as more home-based roles, which mean more disabled people should be in work.
On Thursday the UK government announced benefit claimants not seeking work would face mandatory work placements and lose access to their benefits for a period if they refuse.
Further findings from the research show 88% of recruiters said candidates who stated they had a mental health problem were likely to ask for adjustments like working from home.
The research also revealed the most common reasons employers tell recruiters they cannot offer full time home working or extra home-based days, including:
Concerns about the impact on efficiency and productivity (25%)
The nature of the work means it cannot be carried out at home at all (25%)
Worries about the wellbeing of the employee (23%)
The UK government is expected to make drastic cuts to support for disabled people and people with mental health problems who are unable to work in next week’s Autumn Statement. Plans include changing work capability assessments, used to decide whether people can receive benefits and are well enough to work.
Mind is fighting the changes, as concerns mount that they will make more people unwell and push them into poverty.
Dr Sarah Hughes, Chief Executive of Mind, said:
“It is clear the UK government’s proposals are based on false assumptions, and motivated by a desire to save money. Our findings prove that their arguments for cutting support don’t reflect reality and risk leaving people trapped between a broken benefits system and a jobs market which doesn’t exist.
“Poverty and ill health form a vicious cycle. To tackle the root causes of the number of people out of work, and to empower those who can get back to work to do so, the answer is to ensure that people can access financial support which covers people’s essentials and put in place better employment support.
“The UK government should scrap the proposed changes to Work Capability Assessments, and instead focus on things like investing in workplace support and mental health services. We are calling on decision makers to help people through hardship, not abandon them when times are so tough.”
Ben Tew, 43, from Northampton, has been unable to work because of his diagnoses of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, and is worried he could be pushed back to work by the government’s changes:
“I’ve been unemployed for about seven years now due to mental health issues, and I receive Employment Support Allowance. Due to my schizophrenia and bipolar, I’ve suffered from hearing voices from a young age, but recently my mental health has taken a turn for the worst because of stress. I was able to ignore it more as a child, but as you get older it’s harder to ignore.
“I feel like the government’s benefits department needs to acknowledge mental health more. They could do much more to make things more helpful for people who have mental health problems.
“If I was asked to look for work again, I would be petrified; I struggle day to day to get through the day. Some days I don’t even know what day or year it is, so holding a job down would be impossible. I really believe the government needs to rethink these changes. For anyone like me struggling with their mental health issues, it’s just not going to work.”