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Employment Strategy (Learning Disabilities)

Volume 494: debated on Wednesday 24 June 2009

The Under-Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, the Minister with responsibility for disabled people, my hon. Friend the Member for Chatham and Aylesford (Jonathan Shaw) and I are today publishing a new strategy—“Valuing Employment Now: Real jobs for people with learning disabilities”.

The Government are committed to supporting more people with learning disabilities into jobs. “Valuing People Now, a new three-year strategy for people with learning disabilities” published on 19 January 2009, emphasised that people with learning disabilities are entitled to the same aspirations and life chances as other people including the opportunity to work.

This cross-Government strategy sets out an ambitious goal to increase radically the number of people with learning disabilities in employment by 2025. The Government want as many of these jobs to be at least 16 hours per week. We aspire to close the gap between the employment rate of adults with moderate and severe learning disabilities and that of the disabled population as whole, currently estimated at 48 per cent.

The strategy includes action to raise expectations throughout the system that all people with learning disabilities can and should have the chance to work: from birth and early years through education, among health and social care staff, local authorities, employment agencies, employers, and people with learning disabilities themselves and their families. The strategy is supported by a detailed delivery plan.

The strategy and delivery plan have been placed in the Library and copies are available to hon. Members from the Vote Office.