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Disabled Jobseekers Facing Dramatic Cuts In Support To Find Work

October 24, 2016

The number of unemployed disabled people given specialist help to find work will be halved under plans to be revealed this week, according to firms running the government’s work programme.

About 300,000 disabled people were offered help between 2012 and 2015 but this will fall to 160,000 between 2017 and 2020, it is claimed. This is a consequence of the government reducing funding for the new work programme by 80%, according to a major report to be published by the umbrella group for the companies on the programme. Anyone else seeking support will need to rely on the Jobcentre Plus system that the companies claim is already under significant pressure to deliver cost savings.

Kirsty McHugh, chief executive of the Employment Related Services Association (Ersa), which represents the employment support sector, said: “The size of the new Work and Health Programme means only one in eight disabled people who want to work will have specialist help to do so. As a society, we have an obligation to ensure appropriate support is available and today’s report shows that we are in danger of failing disabled people and their families.”


Earlier this year it was announced that the Work and Health Programme would replace the previous scheme and a green paper detailing the government’s proposals is to be published later this week. The new measures have been billed as a specialist programme of employment support focused predominantly on those with health problems and disabilities.

Earlier this year ministers were accused of “leaving the disabled behind” in its drive for greater employment, after it emerged that more than half of the households in which no one works contain at least one adult with a disability.

However, the new analysis shows that there is to be a cut in funding from £750m in 2013-14 to less than £130m next year.

Ersa says that the cut in funding will severely hamper the government in its goal of securing work for more than 1.2 million more people with disabilities.

Following the vote to leave the European Union, there are also concerns that money currently coming from the European Social Fund will not be maintained.

Despite the government’s commitment, unveiled by the chancellor, Philip Hammond, at the Conservative party conference, to safeguard the £500m a year until Britain actually leaves the EU, there is no guarantee that these levels will be sustained afterwards.

Modelling by WPI Economics, commissioned by Ersa, suggests that for each benefit claimant moving into full-time work, the exchequer savings from tax and benefits alone add up to £9,900 a year. Matthew Oakley, director of WPI Economics, said: “If the government is serious about its ambitions on disability employment, it needs to take bold action now. A vital first step should be to reverse decisions made by the previous chancellor and double the number of disabled people with access to specialist employment support in this parliament.”

A spokesman for the Department for Work and Pensions said: “Getting more disabled people into work and halving the disability employment gap is one of our top priorities. Around 365,000 more disabled people are in work compared to 2014, which is great news but there is more to do. That’s why we’re increasing support in jobcentres, investing more in adapting workplaces for people with specific needs while our Work and Health Green Paper will be looking at how we can go even further.”

One Comment leave one →
  1. October 24, 2016 12:34 am

    “Increasing Support in Job Centres”?

    Surely on Gov/DWPs previous behaviour this can only mean the following;

    Cutting Support Group numbers to enable the DWP to force Disabled and Sick into attending Work Focused Interviews under Universal Credit and thus coercing them to sign a Claimant Commitment which will give the DWP every opportunity to strip them of ever decreasing Financial and Emotional Support.

    From what I have read, whats on the table under Universal Credit is to remove the Support Group altogether.

    Their overall aim is to wipe Disability from the political landscape and language: What was once considered a disability will become relabelled as a behavioural deficiency…. God help us all…..

    We have to remember that ‘Support’ in Tory doublespeak aint what it says on the tin.

    Support means Abandonment, and Punishment.

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