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Sense, the national deafblind charity, responds to study findings which state cutting benefits does not make people more likely to find work

June 6, 2016

A press release:

Sense, the national deafblind charity, has responded to a Government backed study which found that cutting a person’s benefits does not make them more likely to find work.

The report’s findings challenge the Government’s assumption that reducing income levels can effectively incentivise people to enter employment. The study found that the odds of long term jobless claimants finding work dropped by 2% for every pound of income lost through housing benefit cuts.

The government’s impending cut to Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) for people on the Work Related Activity group (WRAG) is also based on this assumption. Sense is therefore concerned that the cuts to ESA will make it more difficult for disabled people to find and sustain employment as the cuts do not recognise the additional barriers disabled people face when looking for work.

Kate Fitch, Head of Public Policy at Sense, said:

“The Government is aiming to halve the “disability employment gap” by getting 1 million more people with a disability or long-term illness into work. However, it is clear from the findings in today’s report that cutting benefits will not help disabled people who are looking for work.  Rather than incentivising disabled people to find work the cut to ESA will push them further away from employment and closer to poverty.

Instead of penalising disabled people who are out of work, the government should turn its focus to dismantling the real barriers preventing disabled people from finding a job, such as negative attitudes from employers, failure to make reasonable adjustments in the workplace, inaccessible transport and ineffective back to work support programmes which are continuing to fail in helping disabled people find and keep work.”

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