Thank you for contacting me about disability and employment opportunities.
I am committed to improving employment outcomes for disabled people. I stood on a manifesto commitment to see 1 million more disabled people in work by 2027. 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. I am very encouraged that the Department for Education provided an additional £92.5 million of high needs funding to local authorities for the 2016-2017 year, and I welcome that a further £130 million will be provided for 2017-2018.
Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.
EDWARD LEIGH MP