Skip to main content

Access to Work Scheme (Disabled People)

Volume 555: debated on Monday 10 December 2012

We are undertaking a radical review of Access to Work so that it can help more disabled people into mainstream employment. We are implementing several improvements, including a fast-track assessment process and the removal of cost-sharing for small employers, as well as working with an expert panel to consider how the scheme can be further personalised and made to work more effectively for disabled people and their employers.

I welcome the Government’s continued commitment to the Access to Work scheme. May I draw the Minister’s attention to the report of the all-party parliamentary group for young disabled people, which I chair? One of its recommendations was that the scheme should be extended to both internships and long-term voluntary work placements. Will the Minister undertake to consider that recommendation?

The policy intent of Access to Work is to support disabled people into paid sustainable work, and as such it is not offered for unpaid internships or voluntary work. However, from 1 October this year Access to Work has been available to young disabled people undertaking work experience under the Youth Contract. I would like to meet my hon. Friend to talk further about this matter.

The Remploy factory in Wishaw was forced to close in the summer, and despite Government promises made from the Dispatch Box, not one single worker—not one—from Remploy in Wishaw has now got a job. Why?

We are working hard to get everybody from all the Remploy factories into work. When I last talked about this matter in the House, only 35 of those people across the country had got into work, but I am pleased to say that we have now more than quadrupled that number, to 148. We have looked into the personalised support, and we are adapting it every day. We are working on it, and we will make it better.