Urgent question: NAO reports 'disappointing' progress in disability employment schemes

28 March 2019

The National Audit Office yesterday published a report, 'Supporting disabled people to work' which examined the Department of Work and Pensions' strategy and programmes which aim to help disabled people overcome barriers to work.

The report commended progress made in improving the experience of disabled people at job centres, and the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) working more closely with the Department for Health and Social Care. It also noted the overall rise in disabled people in work, but noted that the latter could be linked to the overall increase in employment.

Despite this, it concluded that the DWP lacked an overall strategy for helping disabled people into work. It said:

"It is disappointing that [the DWP] is not further ahead in knowing what works and that it lacks a target that it is willing to be held to account for"

In an urgent question, Marsha de Cordova, the Shadow Minister for Disabled People asked the Government to make a statement in response.

Speaking for the Department for Work and Pension, Justin Tomlinson said they welcomed the report and agreed there was more to do. He said that the DWP would review their targets to make them more ambitious. Concluding, he promised,

"Stakeholders will be at the very heart of our future work. Together we will continue to do all we can to unlock disabled people's potential"

In response, de Cordova called the report "damning". She said that the number of disabled people out of work had stagnated, and that the Government had failed to evaluate their initiatives. Asking for an update on various Government schemes, reporting and the appointment of a new Minister for Disabled People.

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