Policies miss the point

Government policies to get disabled people into work are failing to tackle
the biggest barriers, a disability charity has claimed.

The comments were made following the Budget announcement that the new deal
for disabled people, which has been run as a pilot, will be rolled out
nationally.

John Knight, head of policy at Leonard Cheshire, said schemes to place
people in jobs had some merit but until changes are made to the benefits system
and disabled people get better access to education, little progress will be
made.

Under the current system disabled people are often excluded from mainstream
education. If they are in work, they have to pay for their own care, which can
leave them worse off than if they rely on benefits.

"At the moment it is as productive to sit at home doing nothing than
busting a gut at work all day," said Knight.

He said the Government also needs to understand the burden on disabled
people of having to care for themselves.

He added that the personnel profession could do more to promote disability
awareness. Prejudice and lack of understanding among employers are extra
barriers.

www.leonard-cheshire.org

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