Minister trumpets success but calls for more employees and bosses to use support on offer.
The number of disabled people taking advantage of support to get or keep a job is up by over 10% on last year, official figures show, as the government’s drive to support more disabled people into work proves a success.
Nearly 10,000 new people claimed support from Access to Work last year, which provides financial help towards the extra costs faced by disabled people at work, such as support workers, specialist aids and equipment and travel to work support. It takes the total receiving help to 31,230.
But, with figures showing that disabled people are moving into jobs, training or work placements at a rate of more than 100 placements every working day, the minister responsible is calling for more people to make use of the fund which enables reasonable adjustments to be made.
Minister of State for Disabled People Mike Penning said:
This is about supporting disabled people to fulfil their aspirations and potential in the workplace. I would urge disabled people who are looking for work, or need more support to stay in their job, to find out how this scheme can help them.
Our Disability Confident campaign is backed by the country’s biggest businesses and is touring the country to showcase the impressive talents of Britain’s 6.9 million disabled people. They account for a fifth of the workforce and are tremendously valuable to the British economy – helping us compete successfully in the global race.
Access to Work is part of a £300 million package of support and has recently been rolled out to cover work experience placements which people arrange themselves. It also helps those who are self employed.
Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou, the founder of Easyjet, said:
Already over 100,000 disabled entrepreneurs employ an equivalent number of people in their business start-ups. I encourage disabled people out there who have a germ of an idea for a business, but are unsure of how to go about it, to take advantage of the support the government has on offer to help you make your business fly.
A digital marketing campaign by DWP to raise awareness of the scheme has seen an almost 80% increase in the number of people looking for more information on how to claim the support. But the government wants to encourage more people to apply.
The Disability Confident campaign, launched by the Prime Minister in London last year, is touring the country to speak to businesses in every part of the country. David Cameron told business leaders that it’s time to dispel the myths about the complexities of employing disabled people.
The number of people with mental health conditions who have applied and been accepted for help has more than doubled, standing at almost 1,100.
The Access to Work figures relate to the period between April and December 2013.
The employment rates for disabled people have increased gradually over the years from 42.2% in 2002 to 46.3% in 2012. However, there remains a gap of almost 30% between the employment rate of disabled and non-disabled people. If disabled people’s employment rate matched that of the rest of the population an extra 2 million disabled people would be in work.
Young disabled people can now get support through Access to Work whilst undertaking Youth Contract work experience or participating in a supported internship or traineeship.
Businesses with up to 49 employees 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 people can get support through Access to Work when setting up their own business if they are enrolled on the New Enterprise Allowance (NEA). The NEA provides expert coaching and financial support for jobseekers with a business idea.
Anyone interested in applying for this support, can search ‘Access to Work’ at www.gov.uk to find out details of our contact centres.
Employers can access support and advice about the #DisabilityConfident campaign.
Media enquiries for this press release – 020 3267 5108
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