Official figures reveal a sharp decline in the number of disabled people supported into work through the Work Choice programme.
The Labour Party has blasted what it describes as the government’s “abject failure to support disabled people into work”, after official figures revealed a sharp decline in the number of people with disabilities moving into work through the Work Choice programme.
Work Choice is a voluntary government employment programme, designed to help disabled people with complex issues to find work or stay in a job.
According to the government’s website, providers work with businesses and offer support packages “which aim to develop the skills and abilities of a disabled person who needs specialist support”.
Official Work Choice statistics show 7.900 job outcomes for 7,710 individuals for the period 1 April 2015 to 31 March 2016, compared 12,020 job outcomes for 11,450 individuals during the same period the previous year.
There has also been a notable drop in the number of disabled people referred to Work Choice. 20,870 people were referred for employment support between 1 April 2014 – 31 March 2015, falling to 15,330 during the same period a year later.
Figures also show fewer ‘starts’ on the programme. The government recorded 16,070 starts between 1 April 2014 – 31 March 2015, compared to 11,340 for the same period in 2015-16 – a fall of 4,730.
Both the Work Programme and Work Choice is to be replaced with a new ‘Work and Health Programme’, which will see funding of around £130 million a year – around 20% of the funding for the Work Programme and Work Choice, or an 80% cut.