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Little to cheer in Govt response to Work and Pensions Committee Access to Work report

18 September 2015

Improving Access to Work for disabled people: Government response to the Committee’s Second Report of Session 2014–15

View Government response

Disability Rights UK welcomes the Government commitment to some of the recommendations of the Work and Pensions Committee. In particular:

  1. The intention to promote the Access to Work Mental Health Support Service with the aim to double the uptake this year.
  2. A commitment to publish the Access to Work decision review procedure and the complaints procedure online.
  3. The setting up of a project to re-engineer Access to Work as a digital service, providing other accessible options are available for those who have problems accessing the web.

Despite these commitments, we feel that the Government has failed to address some of the most important concerns of the Committee with regard to Access to Work.

In our written evidence to the Work and Pensions Select Committee’s inquiry into Access to Work we raised concerns about increased focus on scrutiny of Access to Work costs rather than the prime purpose of enabling people to work.

We noted that this was causing real frustration to disabled people. Numbers of people being helped have been rising for the last 2 years – but before that there was a decline, so the net effect is small. The budget has increased slightly – but only after a decline.

We believe that there is universal agreement that Access to Work is cost effective – it is one of the few success stories with regard to into work support for disabled people. It needs to be expanded, yet the previous Coalition Government chose to cap it

We would have liked the Government’s response to the Work and Pensions committee report to have reconsidered its earlier decision in the light of the evidence presented. That it hasn’t is both disappointing and an opportunity missed.