Autism: Workplace Accessibility

Work and Pensions – in the House of Commons at on 5 February 2024.

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Photo of Barry Sheerman Barry Sheerman Labour/Co-operative, Huddersfield

What steps he is taking to help ensure workplaces are accessible for autistic people.

Photo of Mel Stride Mel Stride Chair, Treasury Committee, The Secretary of State for Work and Pensions

Autistic people have a huge amount to offer in the workforce, which is why we set up the Buckland review in April 2023, led by my right hon. and learned Friend Sir Robert Buckland, to look at the barriers to autistic people gaining employment and to ensure that we have a more inclusive workforce for them.

Photo of Barry Sheerman Barry Sheerman Labour/Co-operative, Huddersfield

May I push the Minister on what progress has been made by the Buckland review? Will he also remind jobcentres up and down the country that people on the autism spectrum have great talents and often need only slight workplace modifications of simple things such as lighting or noise levels? This could open up a source of real talent for our country.

Photo of Mel Stride Mel Stride Chair, Treasury Committee, The Secretary of State for Work and Pensions

The hon. Gentleman is entirely right. Small changes can often make a big difference, not just for autistic people but for the businesses they go on to serve and work in. He will have to be a little more patient about the Buckland review report coming out, but it will not be long. I also point him to the Access to Work and Disability Confident approaches, which both do exactly what he suggests.