The Department for Work and Pensions has just published it’s Green Paper on Work, Health and Disability in full.

Despite welcoming it’s plans to work closer with employers to help halve the disability employment gap, Mencap outlines deep concerns over changes to those in the Support Group of Employment and Support Allowance.

Mencap response below.

Dan Scorer, Head of Policy at Mencap, said:

The government’s long awaited Green Paper sets out an important 10 year vision for changing attitudes and working with employers to transforming disabled people’s access to employment. However, disappointingly, it does not set any milestones in terms of meeting the government’s important commitment to halve the disability employment gap.

We want to work with the government and employers to open up access to the Labour market for people with a learning disability. However, we are concerned by proposals that could undermine the position of people with a learning disability in ESA’s Support Group, who have been assessed by the Government as being unable to take steps towards work. This would come on top of the £30 a week cut to Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) coming in next April, which we believe will be deeply damaging to disabled people’s wellbeing and ability to find work. It would also go against recent Ministerial assurances that there will be no further cuts to disabled people’s benefits.

With just 6% of people with a learning disability known to social services in employment, future reforms need to focus on providing tailored support to individuals, whilst providing them with financial security. Many of the Green Paper proposals are welcome, but changes to the Support Group could cause deep concern to sick and disabled people, who the government must listen to and understand the impact these proposals would have on their lives.

-ENDS-

About Mencap

For further information or to arrange interviews, please contact the Mencap press office on 020 7696 5414 or media@mencap.org.uk or for out of hours 07770 656 659.

Notes to editors

There are 1.4 million people with a learning disability in the UK. Mencap works to support people with a learning disability, their families and carers by fighting to change laws, improve services and access to education, employment and leisure facilities. Mencap supports thousands of people with a learning disability to live their lives the way they want.

www.mencap.org.uk  

For advice and information about learning disability and Mencap services in your area, contact Mencap Direct on 0808 808 1111 (9am-5pm, Monday-Friday) or email help@mencap.org.uk

What is a learning disability?

A learning disability is a reduced intellectual ability which can cause problems with everyday tasks – for example shopping and cooking, or travelling to new places – which affects someone for their whole life.

People with a learning disability can take longer to learn new things and may need support to develop new skills, understand difficult information and engage with other people. The level of support someone needs is different with every individual. For example, someone with a severe learning disability might need much more support with daily tasks than someone with a mild learning disability.

Learning disability is NOT a mental illness or a learning difficulty. Very often the term ‘learning difficulty’ is wrongly used interchangeably with ‘learning disability’.