Press release

Birmingham Tops List For Disability Employment Support

Birmingham is leading the way in providing extra support to get disabled people into mainstream work.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government


Birmingham is leading the way in providing extra support to get disabled people into mainstream work, Minister for Disabled People Esther McVey announced today.

Britain’s second largest city tops the list of where disabled entrepreneurs and businesses receive the most support under the Government’s specialist disability employment scheme.

The scheme, Access to Work, pays for specialised equipment, support workers and travel costs.

Last year 700 people from Birmingham received support to get or stay in work, with 550 from Leeds and 400 from Glasgow.

Minister for Disabled People Esther McVey said:

Although the disability employment rate has increased over recent years, there is still more we need to do to close the gap with non-disabled people.

That is why we’ve opened up our flagship programme so that disabled people can have the same choice of jobs as everyone else - in every sector, from hairdressing to engineering and everything in between.

Last year, more than 30,000 businesses or disabled entrepreneurs took up our offer of extra support through Access to Work - but we know many more disabled people could benefit, so I’d urge them to see how the scheme might help them get or stay in work.

Recent changes to Access to Work mean:

  • Businesses with up to 49 employees will no longer pay a contribution towards the extra costs faced by disabled people in work, saving them up to £2,300 per employee who uses the fund;
  • Disabled jobseekers who want to set up their own business will now be eligible for Access to Work funding from day one of receiving Job Seekers Allowance; and
  • Access to Work advisers will be given more flexibility in deciding which equipment is funded through the scheme, offering more choice to disabled people in work.

Access to Work has previously been called ‘the Government’s best kept secret’, and the Government has expanded the marketing campaign to raise awareness of the changes and target young disabled people and people with mental health conditions.

Half a million disabled people are self-employed, making up 15 per cent of all employed disabled people, and around 100,000 of them provide jobs by employing at least one other person.  This compares with the 3.2m non-disabled people in self-employment, which is 13 per cent of those in employment.

More than 300,000 disabled people hold management roles and around 480,000 disabled people run their own business.

Anyone interested in applying for this support, can search ‘Access to Work’ at to find out details of our contact centres.

Top ten regional breakdown of Access to Work applications:

Local Authority 2011-12

All 30,760

Birmingham 700

Leeds 550

Glasgow City 400

Manchester 380

Sheffield 380

Liverpool 370

County Durham 310

Bristol 300

Cornwall 300

Bradford 270

Notes to Editors:

  1. Access to Work is a disability employment programme delivered by Jobcentre Plus.
  2. The scheme is considered very cost effective - the Sayce Review described a net return to the Treasury of £1.48 for every £1.00 spent on the programme.
  3. It is different from most other DWP programmes in that it supports disabled people who are in work or about to start work to stay in work by funding either partially or fully the cost of necessary workplace adjustments that are above what the Equality Act would define as reasonable for an employer to pay.
  4. The programme provides grants direct to individual disabled people to reimburse them for approved costs, and is very flexible in order to meet individual needs.
  5. To be eligible for the programme a person must:
    • have a disability or health condition that stops them from being able to do parts of the job
    • have work-related costs because of the disability or health condition
    • Be 16 or over; and in a paid job; or unemployed and about to start a job; or unemployed and about to start a Jobcentre Plus Work Trial; or self-employed.
  6. Types of support that can be provided under the programme include:
    • Special Aids and Equipment
    • Support Workers
    • Travel to Work
    • Travel in Work
    • Communicator Support at Interview

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Published 4 March 2013