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Access to Work Scheme

Volume 712: debated on Monday 13 July 2009

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether councillors are eligible for funding from the Access to Work scheme; and, if so, whether that eligibility has been communicated to Jobcentres distributing the grant. [HL4869]

Some, but not all, disabled councillors will be eligible for Access to Work support. One of the basic eligibility criteria for Access to Work is that applicants should be in or about to start paid employment. Since 2007, councillors elected to office in Scotland have been paid a salary rather than an allowance and are therefore able to claim Access to Work provided that all other eligibility conditions are satisfied.

Councillors in England and Wales receive various levels and types of allowances. Those councillors who receive only reimbursement of travel, mileage and meal allowances will continue to be treated as voluntary workers and are therefore not eligible for Access to Work. Where councillors receive allowances other than those outlined above, they may be eligible for Access to Work support, provided that they meet the other eligibility conditions including being paid at least the national minimum wage.

The Access to Work guidance was clarified from the start of 2009 and staff who administer Access to Work claims and payments were reminded of the eligibility criteria.