Disability charity Scope has claimed that the Government’s Work Programme, which is designed to help the long-term unemployed back into work, is not providing the specialist support disabled people need to find work.
The charity has also expressed its outrage at claims made in the January 28 edition of BBC current affairs programme Panorama that employees of one of the firms contracted by the Government to deliver the Work Programme referred to disabled people as ‘LTBs’ – an acronym for lying thieving bastards.
Panorama also reported cases where people with disabilities are “parked” by employment firms – which are paid if they get people on the Work Programme into a job – and not given the support they need to get a job, in favour of others who are viewed as easier to get into work.
Richard Hawkes, chief executive of Scope, said: “The Government’s fitness for work test is utterly broken. Now we see the same toxic approach applied to disabled people in the Work Programme.
“Referring to disabled people as LTBs – lying, thieving bastards – is completely unacceptable, yet sadly demonstrates just how the benefit scrounger rhetoric has influenced attitudes towards disability, even amongst those employed to help them.”
In November 2012, the Government published figures that showing that only 1.3% of disabled people claiming employment and support allowance have actually found a job through the Work Programme.
“The fact is the Work Programme is failing to deliver for disabled people,” Hawkes continued. “We know disabled people want to work but face multiple barriers such as a lack of skills and experience, confidence and even negative attitudes from some employers.
“The group of disabled people who are furthest from a job – those claiming employment and support allowance – are receiving the least support and therefore least likely to be referred to the disability specialists.
“Disabled people account for only one in five of the total number of people who’ve found work through the Work Programme.
“Disabled people need tailored and targeted support to find a job and the Work Programme just doesn't offer them this.
“We desperately need the Government to re-think its approach if we want to see more disabled people in work in the future.”