Disabled people are being failed by the Work Programme
Head of Disability Rights UK, Liz Sayce, says schemes aimed to help disabled people into paid jobs are not working and should be replaced.
Liz Sayce believes that ministers should rethink the expensive support given to disabled people to find paid work due to flagship employment schemes failing vulnerable people in society.
The Work Programmes scheme cost hundreds of millions of pounds each year and Sayce believes it is failing disabled people. She argues that they should be replaced by more bespoke approaches “shaped by disabled people and employers, to achieve better career outcomes” reports the Guardian.
Data released last month shows that more than 93% of disabled people on the Work Programme are not succeeding in finding long term work, with only 6.8% of people referred to the programme in the last three months having found long-term work.
Ms Sayce describes the Work Programme as “a non-work programme – at best it is heading for an 88% failure rate with people on out-of-work disability benefits. Some providers do very good work, but perverse incentives stop them spreading it. Disabled people want to play a more central role, working with employers, to secure job and career opportunities and use their talents, to the benefit of everyone.
“The Work Programme is projected to cost £3-5bn over five years, yet is not working for a core group: people living with disability or long-term health conditions. It is time to cut out the middleman, releasing the money that is presently being wasted and transferring control of employment support to those who know how it can be used best – disabled people and employers.”
A Department for Work and Pensions spokesperson said: “Previous schemes didn’t do enough for disabled people and those on sickness benefits, which is why we introduced the Work Programme to give tailored support to address individual barriers to work. Thousands of the hardest to help people have already found lasting work through the scheme.
“More generally we have protected the budget for disability employment services and recently kickstarted a two-year advertising campaign to support business to become more confident at recruiting disabled people as sometimes employer attitudes can be a barrier to work.”
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