The Enham Trust have spoken out against the governments’ planned proposals which will mean only one in eight disabled people who want to work will receive the help they need; the equivalent of 45,000 fewer disabled people each year over the remainder of this parliament.
The comments support a new report by the Employment Related Service Association (ERSA) ‘More than Words: Rethinking employment support for disabled jobseekers’, which was published in advance of the governments’ Work and Health Green Paper, released this week. The independent report by WPI Economics shows the gap between government rhetoric and reality in terms of support for jobseekers with disabilities and health conditions.
The report from the ERSA shows that the reduction in funding – from £750 million in 2013/14 to less than £130 million next year – means that while 300,000 disabled people accessed contracted support between 2012-2015, this will fall to just 160,000 from 2017 to 2020.
Enham Trust, a leading disability charity based in Andover, Hampshire, recognises the need to support disabled people who face the most significant barriers to employment back into work and says that these new plans will negatively impact disabled people looking for work.
Khalid Aziz, Executive Chairman of the Enham Trust, said:
“While we do welcome the publication of the government’s Work and Health green paper and the focus on delivering more targeted and personalised support, we are disappointed that the governments’ proposals to cut overall specialised employment support will mean fewer disabled people will now get the assistance they need.
“We strive to deliver services designed to support disabled people back on their journey to independence, and getting them employment and supporting them through this process is a key aspect of this.
“Our Skills and Employment Service aims to support people to return to work with the right support. We have a good relationship with all the partners we work closely with but believe these new proposals, highlighted by ERSA, will have a negative effect on many disabled jobseekers in the UK.”
To date the charity has worked with close to 2,000 learners, referred from various partners, to help them find employment.
Kirsty Mchugh, Chief Executive of ERSA, said in a statement:
“The size of the new Work and Health Programme means only one in eight disabled people who want to work will have specialist help to do so. As a society, we have an obligation to ensure that appropriate support is available and this report shows that we are in danger of failing disabled people and their families.”