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Thursday, July 1, 1999 Published at 19:50 GMT 20:50 UK


Disability group concerned about New Deal

A New Deal success story

A group campaigning for the rights of people with disabilities has condemned the lack of support for those wanting to work.

The UK-wide New Deal scheme includes a pilot project in the south Wales valleys, offering a personal adviser to disabled people who want to work. But Disability Wales says what they gain in wages, they risk losing in benefits and allowances.

It is estimated there are 57,000 people throughout Wales with long term illness who want to work.

Disability Wales is concerned that politicians are pressurising disabled people to take work, and risk losing the allowances that help them live independently

[ image: Howard John, Director, Disability Wales]
Howard John, Director, Disability Wales
"On paper you have got the opportunities to go into work and the chances to take up training opportunities. But for most disabled people work places are inaccessible and training agencies are inaccessible." said Howard John, director, Disability Wales.

It is too soon to assess how many disabled people have been helped by New Deal, but 4,400 lone parents, have so far found work through the scheme.

The scheme remains popular at Westminister, which retains control of social security policy in Wales.

New Deal facts

Over 9,500 people in Wales found work under the various New Deal initiatives by the end of April 1999.

Since the New Deal was launched throughout Wales, there has been a substantial drop in the number of 18-24 year olds who have been unemployed for six months or more. Between April 1998 and April 1999, unemployment amongst this client group fell by 44%.

A total of 7,200 long-term unemployed people aged 25 or over have joined the New Deal in Wales since its introduction in late June 1998. Since the scheme was launched throughout Wales, there has been a 15% fall in unemployment within the client group.

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