HC Deb 15 April 2002 vol 383 cc696-7W
27. Fiona Mactaggart

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what progress has been made in helping people with disabilities to get and keep employment. [45039]

Maria Eagle

We have introduced a wide range of measures to help people with disabilities secure work where they are ready and able to do so.

We have improved the permitted work rules in incapacity benefit to make it easier for people to make the first moves into work. Over 8,200 people have already been helped into work through the new deal for disabled people pilots. Building on that success we now have a national network of job brokers from the public, private and voluntary sectors who work closely with employers, voluntary groups and health services to help people with health conditions and disabilities move into work. Later this year we are also introducing the job retention and rehabilitation pilots to test the effectiveness of making co-ordinated, earlier health and/or employment interventions to help people who become sick or disabled to stay in work.

Disability employment advisers continue to provide specialist support to disabled jobseekers, and disabled employees and their employers. Disability employment advisers can draw on the expertise of occupational psychologists to help disabled people find and retain work.

The roll-out of integrated Jobcentre Plus offices will provide disabled people with work-focused meetings with a personal adviser to ensure they are aware of all the help and opportunities available to them.

We established the Disability Rights Commission to help disabled people secure their rights under the Disability Discrimination Act, and to provide information and advice to employers and service providers.