Employment charity allays fears over incapacity benefit reforms

Employment charity Shaw Trust has reassured businesses worried that David Blunkett’s incapacity benefit reform plans will pile pressure on employers.

The provider of employment services for disabled and disadvantaged people said the Department for Work and Pensions’ welfare to work proposals should be seen as an opportunity for businesses, not as another battering ram.

“UK bosses are struggling to fill a quarter of a million job vacancies and yet there’s a huge untapped market of eager would-be employees,” said Shaw Trust managing director, Ian Charlesworth.

“Bosses shouldn’t worry about employing people with disabilities or trying to retain valued staff who develop a disability or health condition. There is ample voluntary sector help available for anyone who asks.”

The charity, which campaigns to remove the barriers that keep people out of work, said employers should welcome any move to liberate people trapped on incapacity benefits.

“Almost half of the UK’s disabled people are out of work, compared to just 15% of non-disabled people. Not only is that a social outrage, it’s also financial and economic madness,” said Charlesworth.

“There is a skills shortage and a shrinking number of potential employees, but the answer is staring everyone in the face,” he added.

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