27 DEC 2017
Thank you very much for taking the time to email me about disability employment and EDM 455.
I understand you would like me to sign EDM 455, however like many MPs I do not sign any EDMs no matter how worthy the cause. This is because EDMs now cost a huge amount per year to administer and have no chance of changing the Law. They are in effect petitions which only MPs can sign. They have also been superseded by online petitions which can be on any issue for which the Government or Parliament is responsible and any which receive 10,000 signatures will receive a response from the Government. Those petitions which reach 100,000 signatures will almost always be debated in Parliament – unless it is an issue which has recently been debated. There are also concerns that EDMs may give a false impression that action is being taken.
Nonetheless, I hope the following information on this topic from the Department for Work and Pensions of interest:
Since 2013, 600,000 more disabled have moved into employment, but more must be done to help others move into and progress in work.
The Work, Health and Disability strategy has recently proposed a 10 year strategy to remove employment barriers for disabled people. New voluntary employment trials are being launched to understand how to most effectively help people into employment. This includes a £100 million investment into the new Work and Health Programme to provide specialist support for around 245,000 people with disabilities or health conditions. The Fit for Work service is also being reformed to better target the support it offers to employers, employees and GPs. Additionally, all 40 recommendations of the Stevenson/Farmer review into health in the workplace will be acted on, including establishing a framework for large employers to voluntarily report disability within their organisations.
The Access to Work scheme continues to provide support for those who have a disability or long-term health condition. Spending on this scheme increased by 8 per cent this year, supporting over 25,000 people. The Disability Confident campaign is also helping employers take action to improve how they attract, recruit and retain disabled workers. It includes promotion of the Access to Work Scheme. Over 5000 employers have signed up.
Schools play a vital role in supporting children with disabilities. The Department for Education provided an additional £92.5 million of high needs funding to local authorities for the 2016-2017 year, and a further £130 million will be provided for 2017-2018.
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