The WASPI women are not the first group to have money stolen from them by a Conservative government. We would like everyone to remember the disastrous changes made by both the Tory/Lib Dem and Tory governments to #AccessToWork.
The StopChanges2AtW campaign started as a result of Maria Miller commissioning a report into Access to Work, the scheme that supports deaf and disabled people in to the workplace. The Access to Work scheme actually brings money in to the economy and the Sayce report stated that for every £1 spent by government, the treasury got a return of £1.48. This was a win, win and the scheme was often referred to as the governments “best kept secret”.
As a result of recommendations made, the government closed the Remploy factories that employed disabled people: money saved was promised to support those affected. This money was never spent on supporting disabled people. It was spent on statutory benefits, money which has specific ring fenced funding already.
Subsequent Ministers for Disabled People/DWP have tried to impose cuts to Access to Work and have made using the scheme so stressful that some disabled people have stopped working/lost promotions/lost their jobs as a result. For a government that promotes a “work pays” agenda, this doesn’t fit and shows an ideological motive.
Here’s a quick reminder of which MPs were involved and the detrimental changes that were made to the scheme*:
Iain Duncan Smith
(*Sarah Newton and Amber Rudd are not included in this list as they are not standing to be an MP in GE2019)
Have given us:
- 30 hour rule (an attempt to force AtW users to employ support staff if they used 30+ hours of support a week), limiting choice and control – employers wanting to offer a disabled person a job would have to employ two people!
- Non Communication days – asking Deaf BSL users to work without support for one day a week, isolated from colleagues.
- Closing Remploy factories and NOT investing the money saved in disabled people as promised.
- Cap to access to work (limiting the amount awarded to individuals, disproportionately impacting disabled people with high support needs and BSL users).
- Job redesign – contacting disabled people’s managers and asking that their jobs are changed to limited the amount of support needed. Undermining disabled people’s skills and right to work in their chosen careers.
We have had to begin a judicial review and take court proceedings to stop many of the above changes being introduced.
We want to work and are smashing the glass ceilings placed on us!
We are delighted to see Kerena Marchant a deaf BSL user and campaigner for disabled people, standing against Maria Miller in her Basingstoke constituency. We are about to see a disabled person win against the minister that has caused so much damage to deaf and disabled people’s access to work!
Please join us in supporting Kerena in her campaign!