Access to Jobs (Disabled People)

Women and Equalities – in the House of Commons at 9:30 am on 2nd July 2015.

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Photo of Ian Lavery Ian Lavery Labour, Wansbeck 9:30 am, 2nd July 2015

What assessment she has made of the effectiveness of Government policies in tackling disadvantages faced by disabled people in accessing jobs.

Photo of Justin Tomlinson Justin Tomlinson Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State (Department for Work and Pensions) (Disabled People)

Some 3.2 million working-age disabled people are in work, an increase of 238,000 in the past year, which demonstrates the success of our policies. We are building on that by launching specialist employment ability support, expanding the Disability Confident campaign, extending Work Choice and expanding the use of our Access to Work mental health support service.

Photo of Ian Lavery Ian Lavery Labour, Wansbeck

During the last Parliament, the Government callously closed the Remploy factories, casting thousands of disabled people out of work. Less than 50% of those people are back in work—many grappling with short-time hours and low pay. What is the Minister doing to improve those horrendously unacceptable figures?

Photo of Justin Tomlinson Justin Tomlinson Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State (Department for Work and Pensions) (Disabled People)

Some 1,190 of the 1,537 former employees have already found work; 875 are being supported by a personal case worker; and additional support will remain in place, as is the case for anybody with a disability. I celebrate the fact that 650 disabled people a day over the past 12 months were able to find work.

Photo of Peter Heaton-Jones Peter Heaton-Jones Conservative, North Devon

Does the Minister agree that we have a challenge in ensuring equality of opportunity in employment for people with mental health conditions, and that the Disability Confident campaign has made an excellent start? Will he consider attending the Disability Confident campaign roadshow that I plan to organise in my constituency?

Photo of Justin Tomlinson Justin Tomlinson Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State (Department for Work and Pensions) (Disabled People)

My wife and I would be delighted to support my hon. Friend’s event in North Devon. Mental health is incredibly important. We spent £42 million in the Budget on a series of pilot schemes for telephone, group and face-to-face support. We have provided funding for an extra 40,000 people to receive cognitive behavioural therapy. Through the Access to Work scheme, we are helping 1,500 people, with a 92% retention rate.