Government’s employment plans ‘out of sync’ with its ambitions to help disabled people into work

senseNational disability charity, Sense, warns that shrinking specialist employment support system will further marginalise disabled jobseekers

National disability charity, Sense, has responded to the Employment Related Services Association (ERSA) report which highlights that proposed cuts to funding in the Government’s employment programmes will see 45,000 fewer disabled people offered specialist support to find jobs.

Warning that the new Work and Health Programme (WHP) will only cover half the number of disabled people currently supported by existing programmes, the ERSA report also revealed that if the proposals go ahead only one in eight disabled people will have access to specialist employment support.

Sense, who are currently campaigning for greater employment equality for disabled people, recently released the ‘Realising Aspirations for All’ report, which revealed that ineffective employment support programmes are a major barrier to deafblind people seeking employment. The report also highlighted that young deafblind people are some of the most marginalised jobseekers in the country, with only one in ten currently in employment.

The charity will be working with the Government, following the publication of the imminent work and health Green Paper, to help increase the number of people with complex needs able to access long-term meaningful employment by reducing the current barriers to work faced by disabled people.

Kate Fitch, Head of Public Policy at Sense, said:

“We know that there are a huge number of barriers facing disabled people trying to access employment and this is an issue that the Government has promised to address with its ambitious pledge to halve the disability employment gap. However, the Employment Related Services Association’s report highlights that the Government’s aspirations to help disabled people into work are vastly out of synch with its proposed changes to the WHP programme, which will essentially further restrict the number of jobseekers able to access the specialist support they need to find employment.

“Deafblind people and those with complex needs deserve to be able to fulfil their potential and find long-term meaningful employment; however, they are currently amongst the most marginalised people in society. Our recent ‘Realising Aspirations for All’ report revealed that current employment support programmes already fail to adequately provide specialised support for people with complex needs, which is why it is incredibly worrying to hear that the Government’s funding cuts will see 45,000 fewer disabled people able to access the support they need to help them into work.

“If the Government wants to deliver on its promise to help everyone realise their aspirations, it must work towards increasing access to vital services and providing the resources for innovative specialist support models, instead of its current plans to shrink support systems and push through funding cuts, which will only enable them to help the easiest to reach.”

Sense is a national charity that supports people who are deafblind, have sensory impairments or complex needs, to enjoy more independent lives. Our expertise in supporting individuals with communication needs benefits people of all ages, as well as their families and carers. We provide information and advice, offer a wide range of flexible services and campaign passionately for the rights of the people we serve. Find out more at www.sense.org.uk.

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