Friday 6 May 2016

Inquiry into Disability Employment Gap and Disability Confident Closes Monday

The Parliamentary Work and Pensions Committee is holding an inquiry into the 'Disability Employment Gap', and the deadline for submissions is Monday. (Apologies for the short notice, they keep launching these things when I'm away from home and/or running around after medical stuff).

According to their webpage:

Scope of the inquiry

The Committee invites written submissions addressing the following points:
  • To what extent are the current range of proposed measures likely to achieve the Government’s ambition of closing the disability employment gap?
  • How effective is the Disability Confident campaign in reducing barriers to employment and educating employers?
  • What should support for people with health conditions and disabilities in the proposed Work and Health programme look like?
  • What are the likely impacts on disability employment of the abolition of the Employment and Support Allowance Work Related Activity component? 
I'll be putting in a response, which is likely to run along the lines of "Fat chance. Worse than useless. Nothing like DWP wants. And catastrophic", though at rather greater length. But this is your chance to comment on:
  • Whether the government really wants to halve the disability employment gap, or just get enough temporarily sick people back into work it looks like they did. 
  • How Disability Confident is actually working to reinforce discriminatory views of disabled people by its focus on inspiration porn, its denial that workplace disability discrimination exists, its encouragement to employers not to pay attention to disablity (and therefore to the adjustments we need), and its apparent belief that the only appropriate jobs for disabled people are entry level and minimum wage. Oh, and we're 'inspiring'.
  • How proposals for the Work and Health programme are likely to be a disaster. Details are all but impossible to find, but the various DWP pilot schemes, such as putting JCP staff into doctors' surgeries. and the Tory manifesto proposal for the enforced treatment of certain conditions suggest that DWP wants to develop a system in which it can directly influence the medical treatment disabled people receive and make their benefits conditional on doing as DWP demands.
  • And how the £30 cut in ESA, so that those in the Work Related Activity Group will be treated identically to non-disabled jobseekers on JSA, will further erode the recognition that this group includes many severely and long term disabled people, who need specialised support from JCP staff, which is already being decimated via the widespread axing of Disability Employment Advisers within JCP.
The aim of closing the disability employment gap is one we should all be able to get behind, but DWP's appalling history around disabled jobseekers, which largely consists of looking for ways to deny we are disabled, or prove us frauds, leaves me with little confidence that this is their real intention, while the farcical Disability Confident confirms they are far more interested in pandering to cliched values of disability we hoped we had left behind 30 years ago.

Responses are due by Monday 9th May. Whether that is close of business, or Midnight, appears not to be stated. In fact there is more information on responding in the Easy Read version than on the main website.

Chances to have our say don't come along often, so let's take advantage of this one.