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  • Writer's pictureEmma Vogelmann

General Election 2017: disability employment

Trailblazer Emma Vogelmann has spinal muscular atrophy Type 2 and is interning with Muscular Dystrophy UK’s Campaigns Team. Here, Emma outlines where the political parties stand on disability employment: There are a number of issues that people with disabilities face when trying to find work; such as deciding when to disclose your disability, asking for reasonable adjustments to be made and how to get to and from work. These issues often mean that people with disabilities are unemployed despite wanting to be in work and being qualified for available jobs. Currently the employment gap between people with disabilities and those without is about 32%.

Before the Election announcement, the Government published a Green Paper with the intention of reducing this gap by learning more about the issues and asking both employers and people with disabilities how they can be tackled. In February 2017, Muscular Dystrophy UK held a Parliamentary roundtable which gave Trailblazers a platform to share their views with a representative from the Department for Work and Pensions. You can read the report from that meeting Here. The Government closed its consultation in late February and the results are being analysed.

Here is what Labour, the Liberal Democrats and the Conservatives have said about employment that impact people with disabilities.

Conservatives –

  1. Work to help those groups who have in the past found it difficult to get employment, by incentivising employers to take them on. For businesses employing someone with a disability or those with chronic mental health problems, they will offer a holiday on their employers’ National Insurance Contributions for a full year.

  2. Get 1 million more people with disabilities into employment over the next ten years by harnessing new ways of working such as remote working

Labour –

  1. Abolish employment tribunal fees

  2. Provide more rights for workers who are self-employed

  3. Commission a report into expanding the Access to Work programme. You can read more of Labour’s policies in their ‘Manifesto With and For Disabled People’.

Liberal Democrats –

  1. Raise awareness of, and seek to expand, Access to Work, which supports people with disabilities in work

  2. Improve links between Jobcentres and Work Programme providers and the local NHS to ensure all those in receipt of health-related benefits are getting the care and support to which they are entitled

The Access to Work scheme is not one many people know about. The Access to Work grant can pay for practical support if you have a disability, health or mental health condition to help you: start working, stay in work, move into self-employment or start a business. It can cover transport costs, pay for a personal assistant or pay for specialist equipment. (You can read more about Access to Work Here.) It is encouraging to see it mentioned in this round of manifestos as it was heavily mentioned at the Parliamentary roundtable meeting. Muscular Dystrophy UK is now calling for the Access to Work scheme to be expanded to include individuals taking on internships and work experience and to allow individuals to apply and be assessed before they receive a job offer so that they are ready to begin work as quickly as possible.

This was originally on Muscular Dystrophy UK’s website as part of a series of blogs on the General Election 2017 Manifestos.

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