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Disabled Volunteers

Work and Pensions written question – answered on 3rd March 2006.

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Photo of Tom Levitt Tom Levitt PPS (Rt Hon Hilary Benn, Secretary of State), Department for International Development

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will extend (a) Access to Work measures and (b) protection from discrimination to disabled volunteers who are working as part of a work experience or rehabilitation scheme.

Photo of Anne McGuire Anne McGuire The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Work and Pensions

Access to Work does not provide support to people who are engaged in unpaid voluntary work and there are currently no plans to extent Access to Work in this way.

The first priority of Access to Work is to assist unemployed disabled people into paid employment, thereby helping to remove or reduce their dependence on benefits.

We have asked the Disability Rights Commission to consider producing a voluntary code of practice on volunteering as we do not believe at this stage that it would be appropriate to extend the disability discrimination legislation to cover volunteers. There are likely to be practical difficulties in legislating to cover volunteers because of the diversity in the nature of volunteering and in the relationships between volunteers and the organisations that engage them.

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