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Last Updated: Tuesday, 16 January 2007, 04:03 GMT
Disabled job-seekers 'need help'
Disabled sign
"Disabled people and their families are at much greater risk of poverty"
More needs to be done by the government to help disabled people get jobs and keep them, a group of MPs have said.

Of more than one million on incapacity benefit who want to work, only 160,000 take advantage of state schemes, the Public Accounts Committee has reported.

The committee also claimed "unreliable" data from the Department of Work and Pensions made it "impossible" to assess the benefits of the 320m being spent.

Lib Dem MP Danny Alexander said support for disabled people needs to be better.

Disabled people and their families are at much greater risk of poverty
Kate Green, chief executive of the Child Poverty Action Group

Committee chairman, Edward Leigh said it was "not easy" for disabled people to locate the right kind of specialist government support.

The committee's investigation had concluded that more attention needed to be paid to support which allowed people to stay in their jobs after becoming disabled, Mr Leigh said.

"There are currently six separate programmes, with their own rigid rules and often overlapping with one another," he added.

"There is big scope for the current departmental review to open the way towards a set of services which are easier to understand and access and better able to satisfy the varying needs of individuals."

Kate Green, chief executive of the Child Poverty Action Group, said: "Disabled people and their families are at much greater risk of poverty so effective investment in specialised employment support to overcome barriers they face in the labour market is vital."

'Better funding, better direction'

She added the government should "reconsider their view that new benefit sanctions are needed for unemployed disabled people".

"The priority should be high-quality services for all who need specialist support, not cutting benefits," Ms Green said.

Mr Alexander added: "This report reveals the government's attempts to help disabled people back into work are failing.

"Too few people are being helped, and too little emphasis is put on keeping people in work when they become disabled.

"Support for disabled people needs to be better funded and better directed if the target of getting one million people off incapacity benefit is to be met."




SEE ALSO
New hope for disabled job-seekers
28 Dec 06 |  Leicestershire
Contract brings relief to workers
12 Dec 06 |  Derbyshire

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