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Employment: Disabled

Volume 508: debated on Monday 29 March 2010

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what steps her Department has taken in respect of the working conditions of disabled workers resident in Preston in the last seven years; and if she will make a statement. (311075)

The Government have significantly improved working conditions for disabled people by providing additional rights under the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 for disabled people not to be discriminated against on the ground of their disability, and to have reasonable adjustments made to ensure that they do not experience substantial disadvantage, compared to non-disabled people, in the employment field. Since 1 October 2004, the employment provisions of the Act have been extended to all forms of employment and occupation, except service in the armed forces, and to employers of all sizes. Through the Equality Bill we are making further improvements, including restrictions on the use by employers of pre-employment enquiries about a person's disability or health.

The Health and Safety Executive promotes the message that health and safety issues should not be used as an excuse to exclude a disabled person from work opportunities. The Executive worked with the former Disability Rights Commission to produce its disability web pages and guidance leaflet for disabled employees and their employers. The information on the web pages and within the guidance promotes good practice in disability equality at work and health and safety risk assessment. The web pages also contain much valuable information for employers and employees on reasonable adjustments.

Disabled people, including those in Preston, who are in work or about to start a job may also benefit from Access to Work, a specialist disability programme delivered by Jobcentre Plus, which provides practical advice and financial support to disabled people and their employers to help them overcome work related obstacles resulting from disability. An Access to Work adviser works with the customer to develop a detailed assessment of the customer's needs, leading to grants towards the cost of providing support. In December 2008 we committed to doubling the budget to £138 million by 2013-14, enabling many more disabled people in Preston and elsewhere to benefit.

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions whether she has made a recent estimate of the number of disabled people resident in each local authority area who have moved into work in each of the last five years. (324600)