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To ask Her Majesty’s Government what measures they are taking to ensure the provision of specialist employment support to disabled jobseekers from 2017 onwards.
To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many disabled jobseekers will be able to access specialist support through the proposed Work and Health Programme.
To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they are planning to make additional funding available for specialist employment support for disabled jobseekers from next year.
To ask Her Majesty’s Government how they intend to ensure that sufficient specialist employment support will be available next year for disabled jobseekers who want to work.
The Spending Review announced funding rising to at least £130 million a year by 2019/20 for the new Work and Health programme, including funding to be devolved to Scotland, focussing support on people with a disability, early access for priority groups and the long term unemployed. We are not yet able to confirm how many disabled jobseekers will access the programme but we expect the majority of people who will start the programme will be disabled people.
The Work and Health Programme is only one part of a wider package of support for disabled people. ‘Improving Lives, The Work, Health and Disability Green Paper’ Cm 9342, published on 31 October, confirms that we will introduce a new Personal Support Package for disabled people and people with long-term health conditions, which includes a range of new interventions and initiatives designed to provide support that is tailored to the individual needs of claimants.
The Package will be delivered through Jobcentre Plus and will be coupled with significant new investment in a new Health and Work Conversation for all ESA claimants and additional Disability Employment Advisers in Jobcentres. We are also investing a further £15m in the Flexible Support Fund for claimants in the Work Related Activity Group.
In addition to this, Specialist Employability Support provides employment support for those who are furthest away from the labour market and have complex needs, making other programmes unsuitable for them. The Green Paper confirmed that we are considering how we should continue this support in the future, including how to provide more places to individuals in the ESA Work-Related Activity Group and UC claimants with limited capability for work.