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Disabled Work - Wheelchair bound woman at work in carpentry business

Disabled people helped into work

Over 36,000 disabled people were supported into work last year, a figure the Department for Work and Pensions says is a ‘record’.

The Government spent £129.1m last year on Access to Work, a scheme which aims at helping disabled people into work by paying for specialist equipment, support workers, travel to work and sign language interpreters. This funding represents a real terms increase of £15m since 2010 and is part of the Government’s drive to get people with disabilities and health conditions into work.

The DWP estimates that nearly 950,000 more disabled people are in work compared to five years ago. Work and pensions secretary Amber Rudd has committed to reviewing the Government’s goal to see one million more disabled people in work between 2017 and 2027 with a view to making the target ‘more ambitious’.

However, in March a joint statement from disability organisations, such as Disabled People Against Cuts and Disability Rights UK, said that despite Government claims to be helping disabled people live independently, cuts were having the opposite effect.

‘After 2009, disabled people hoped for equality, fair treatment and the opportunity to participate fully in society. Instead cuts to social care have made it harder for disabled people to live independently,’ the statement said. ‘Social inclusion has been seriously prejudiced by Government attempts to cut costs through so-called welfare reform such as Universal Credit and the abolition of the Disability Living Allowance.’

‘Austerity measures are disproportionately affecting disabled people’s right to an adequate standard of living as set out in the UN CRPD. Assessments are not informed by disabled people’s lived experience of impairment,’ the statement continued.

‘The reduction in financial support available to many disabled people has caused increased poverty and a deterioration in wellbeing and the quality of life. Many cut down on food and heating, use food banks and borrow money that they are ill-equipped to repay.’

Read: Local Gov - DWP say ‘record’ levels of disabled peopled helped into work.