HL Deb 27 November 1997 vol 583 cc133-4WA
Lord Ashely

asked Her Majesty's Government:

How much money they receive from employers under the Access to Work Scheme.

The Minister of State, Department for Education and Employment (Baroness Blackstone)

Responsibility for the subject of this question has been delegated to the Employment Service Agency under its chief executive. The agency has been asked to respond to your question and its reply is attached.

Letter to Lord Ashley of Stoke from the Chief Executive of the Employment Service, Mr. L. Lewis.

The Secretary of State has asked me to reply to your question about how much money the Government receives from employers under the Access to Work programme. This is something that falls within the responsibilities delegated to me as Chief Executive of the Employment Service.

The Government do not in fact receive money from employers through Access to Work. Access to Work contributes towards the extra employment costs arising because of disability. It contributes 100 per cent. of the costs for someone starting or changing a job, or recently in a job. For someone who has been in a job for six weeks or more, it shares costs, usually with the employer. Access to Work pays a maximum of 80 per cent. of the costs between £300 and £10,000, and 100 per cent. of the costs above that. It does not pay for adjustments below £300. Under these rules the most an employer has to pay is £2,240 for an employee over any three-year period.

We expect employers to make the necessary adjustment and to claim the appropriate sum from the Employment Service. Under these arrangements the Government do not receive money from employers and we do not keep records of the amount employers themselves pay towards the cost of adjustments. Many adjustments are below £300; and some employers may pay more than the minimum required of them in other cases. However, we have commissioned research on Access to Work which will contain information about cost sharing. We expect to publish the results early in the New Year.

I hope this is helpful.