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Employment (Disabled People)

Volume 565: debated on Monday 1 July 2013

The Department offers a range of support to help disabled people get into work and stay in work, including the Work programme, Work Choice and Access to Work. Although there has been a welcome improvement in the disability employment rate over recent years, much still needs to be done. We will be doing that by launching a new, two-year disability employment campaign in July.

I thank the Minister for that reply. I also thank the Minister of State, Department for Work and Pensions, my hon. Friend the Member for Fareham (Mr Hoban), who is coming to our jobs fair tomorrow morning where there will be information about jobs that local companies have designed around people with certain abilities and disabilities. What can we do to communicate to businesses the value of employing people with elements of disability and to ensure that they play a good part in our work force?

I congratulate my hon. Friend on the work she is doing. Employers have the jobs and young people want those jobs, so getting them together is key. That is precisely what we will be doing when we launch our new employment strategy: getting together all the FTSE 100 companies, SMEs and young disabled entrepreneurs so that they can employ people and share best practice.

The Minister has mentioned programmes that help disabled people get into work, but how many of those people remained in work 12 months after they got a job?

Of the nearly 13,000 people who have started on Work Choice, a third—30%—have stayed in work. That situation has improved, but we want to do more, so we are starting the “disability confident” campaign, which will, we hope, help to achieve better outcomes.

Will the Minister confirm that disabled people can, through Access to Work and as part of the new enterprise allowance, get more equipment that will help them set up their own businesses?

My hon. Friend is correct. We have extended the new enterprise allowance to help disabled entrepreneurs with support from Access to Work and she will be pleased to know that more than half a million disabled people have now set up their own businesses.

In spite of the bluff and bluster of the Minister of State for employment, the reality is that Work programme outcomes for new ESA clients show a pathetic performance outcome of only 5.3%, three times worse than doing nothing.

However, I want to turn to another employment support programme for disabled people, Access to Work, which the Under-Secretary has just mentioned. According to the DWP’s most recent statistics, the programme is now supporting 27,000 people compared with 37,290 in the year 2009-10 and 35,000 in 2010-11. Given that many disabled people want to get into work and are constantly told that they need to get into work, can the Minister advise when both the Work programme and Access to Work will start to make a real change to their lives?

The right hon. Lady is quite right that Access to Work is key in helping people to remain in work, which is why we have extended it to young children who want to do internships and to new people who want to set up in business. It is working well and we are continuing to expand it, but we must also ensure that it works as best it possibly can. I am proud of what we are doing and we will build on that good platform.

Thanks to organ transplants, many lives have been saved, but in some cases despite their outward appearance the person is inwardly still disabled. What advice is given to jobcentres and other Government agencies to draw attention to the special needs of those who have had organ transplants?

I am not aware of any specific advice that is given about people with organ transplants, but I do know that our disability employment advisers have in-depth knowledge and help people with all disabilities.