Disabled people looking to work will benefit from some £20 million of additional support from the Scottish Government, as it prepares to use new devolved powers from 1 April 2017.
“New powers on employability are among the most exciting of the new areas to be devolved as it gives Scotland the chance to create something that works for unemployed Scots,” said Cabinet Secretary for Fair Work, Skills and Training, Roseanna Cunningham MSP, as she visited disability employment provider Remploy in Edinburgh on Tuesday, 22 March.
“We are now putting up to £20 million of new Scottish Government funding behind these new powers in order to be able to provide a robust Scottish alternative for current Work Programme and Work Choice clients,” she added.
Work Choice will be replaced with a new one-year contract with existing providers of ongoing support to disabled unemployed people north of the border. Skills Development Scotland (SDS) will also deliver a new devolved service for clients with a health condition and at risk of long term unemployment who want to enter work.
Both measures will operate on a one year basis until March 31, 2018 in advance of a Scottish Government-led procurement for a new employability programme to help unemployed Scots find – and stay in – work, based on the principles of fairness and respect.
“The Scottish Government will not follow the UK approach,” Ms Cunningham insisted. “Instead, we are now putting up to £20 million of new Scottish Government funding behind these new powers in order to be able to provide a robust Scottish alternative for current Work Programme and Work Choice clients.
“We are now looking ahead and working to deliver the aligned, effective and client-focused services which treat those who use services with respect and deliver the effective, efficient and responsive services unemployed Scots are entitled to expect for future years.”
Beth Carruthers, Chief Executive of Remploy added: “We are delighted that the Scottish Government has demonstrated its commitment to disabled people through these new arrangements and the allocation of additional funding.
“We are confident that by working closely together we can provide even better services across Scotland and support many more disabled people into transformational employment.”
by Paul F Cockburn
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