Additional Access to Work funding welcome, but cap must be removed, says Business Disability Forum

12 February 2019

Responding to the Government’s announcement  to increase the annual cap on Access to Work funding to £59,200, Diane Lightfoot, CEO, Business Disability Forum said:

“The Access to Work Scheme is a gamechanger for many disabled people, providing them with the support they need to make working possible. Any additional funding for the scheme is therefore to be welcomed.

Our chief executive Diane Lightfoot is pictured in her office with a window which has a small garden in the background

“We would question, however, if setting a cap – even an increased one – is the most effective way to assess and offer support to the people who need it most.

“Research conducted by Business Disability Forum, last year, showed that many highly skilled disabled people are missing out on vital support, and the opportunity to work, simply because their support needs are assessed as being too expensive. This will still be the case, even with the cap increase.

“At the same time, we are aware that many others, are falling well below the cap.

“Therefore, it seems only sensible that caps are removed, and each person is assessed as an individual. Otherwise, the system could be viewed as discriminating against certain groups of disabled people – people whose conditions require them to have more costly support in place, in order to be able to work.

“We also call on government to update a former study of ROI for Access to Work that showed that it more than paid for itself in terms of savings on other benefits.

“The Government has set a target of supporting 1 million more disabled people into work by 2027. Access to Work can help achieve this, but it must be properly funded and available to all who need it.”

Business Disability Forum is a not-for-profit membership organisation which exists to transform the life chances of disabled people. It does this by bringing together business leaders, disabled people, and Government to understand what needs to change to improve the life opportunities and experiences of disabled people in employment, economic growth, and society more widely. Find out more at www.businessdisabilityforum.org.uk #DisabilitySmart

To set up an interview, please contact sarahb@businessdisabilityforum.org.uk or call 07980616108

Notes to editors:

1. Business Disability Forum is a leading non-profit membership organisation which exists to transform the life chances of disabled people. With over 25 years’ experience, it brings together business leaders, disabled people, and Government to understand what needs to change to improve the life opportunities and experiences of disabled people in employment, economic growth, and society more widely. Business Disability Forum provides practical, evidence-based, strategic solutions for businesses to recruit, retain, and provide inclusive products and services to disabled people. For more information, please visit http://businessdisabilityforum.org.uk/about-us/ 

2. The Minister for Disabled People announced that from 1st April 2019 the annual cap on Access to Work will increase to £59,200. The announcement can be viewed here https://www.gov.uk/government/news/grant-to-support-disabled-people-in-the-workplace-increases-to-almost-60-000