Employment Schemes: Disability

Work and Pensions written question – answered on 30th January 2012.

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Photo of Dan Jarvis Dan Jarvis Shadow Minister (Culture, Media and Sport)

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what steps he is taking to help disabled people into work.

Photo of Maria Miller Maria Miller The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Work and Pensions

We are committed to ensuring that disabled people have the same employment opportunities and chances as everyone else to find and stay in work, regardless of their disability or benefit status.

As part of this commitment, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) is responsible for a range of specialist employment provision specifically aimed at disabled people whose needs cannot be met through other DWP mainstream provision, such as the Work programme:

Work Choice, launched in October 2010, provides tailored support to help disabled people who face the most complex barriers to employment find and stay in work (including self-employment) and ultimately help them progress into unsupported employment, where it is appropriate for the individual. Work Choice is voluntary and available regardless of any benefits being claimed.

Access to Work provides practical advice and support to disabled people and their employers to help them overcome work related obstacles resulting from disability. Access to Work funds the support that is beyond the reasonable adjustments that employers make. Access to Work supported 35,840 disabled people to keep or get employment during 2010/11.

Remploy Employment Services deliver employment support for disabled people, including through the Work Choice programme and Remploy Enterprise Businesses—a network of 54 factories across the UK, providing supported employment to disabled people.

Residential training, delivered through nine residential training colleges, provides vocational training to unemployed disabled adults. Support is not restricted to particular types of disability although some colleges focus support on particular groups, for example visually impaired and hearing impaired.

In December 2010, the Government asked for an independent review to look at DWP employment support available for disabled people, specifically Remploy, residential training colleges and the Access to Work programme. This was led by Liz Sayce, the chief executive of the disability organisation RADAR.

Liz Sayce published her report, ‘Getting in, staying in and getting on’, on 9 June 2011. The Government's response and a separate public consultation was launched on 11 July 2011. I welcome the central theme of the review, that resources for supporting disabled people into employment should be focused on disabled people themselves rather than on specific institutions. The consultation closed on 17 October 2011 and the Government will publish a summary of responses received and a statement on future policy as soon as practicably possible.

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