Clause 2

Part of Welfare Reform Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 4:30 pm on 24th February 2009.

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Photo of Meg Munn Meg Munn Labour, Sheffield, Heeley 4:30 pm, 24th February 2009

I am about to make the point that my right hon. Friend the Minister made quite well in relation to undue specificity by raising another area that I think is enormously important. I am doing it because I specifically want to probe that the relevant regulations will take into account the specific needs of people with a learning disability. I would also like to welcome, in some respects, the document, that the Minister has provided for us, on the use of regulation-making powers. Some of the issues that I am raising are set out within that, which is reassuring. I also want to note the helpful exchange which took place at the third sitting of the Committee with the Minister and his officials. I will not, therefore, be going over that ground.

However, I am seeking reassurance that the needs of people with learning disabilities will be properly taken into account when directions are given about work-related activity. Along with their needs, proper consideration should be given to their need for support, whether support is in place, and whether it is adequate to enable them to undertake that work-related activity.

I am very supportive of the concept of personalisation, although not the use of that term. It needs to mean helping people in the way that is most helpful to them. That is complex in regards to people with learning disabilities; it means recognising their capabilities, alongside areas where they need help. In responding to these amendments, can the Minister for the South East, my hon. Friend the Member for Chatham and Aylesford give me the reassurance that personal adviser will indeed be properly trained to identify those issues, to make proper assessments and ensure that people with learning disabilities are only directed to work-related activities that are reasonable as far as their own particular circumstances are concerned, and that they get the appropriate support that that individual needs to undertake those activities.