Skip to main content

Autumn Statement: Back to work plans unrealistic and out-of-touch

Responding to the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement, today (22 November), Diane Lightfoot, CEO of Business Disability Forum, said:

“We are left concerned and saddened by many of the measures for disabled people claiming benefits announced in the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement today and in recent days.

Photo of the Houses of Parliament where the Autumn Statement was delivered

Back to Work plan announced at Westminster

“Many disabled people who want to work struggle to find a job that meets their needs. Disabled people should not be vilified for this. They also need assurance that they will not lose their benefits if they try out work and it doesn’t work out.

“On plans for home working, suggesting that disabled people should either work from home or risk losing their benefits is both unrealistic and out-of-touch. Home working is simply not possible or practical in every role, and whilst staff can request to work in a different way, current legislation is still not flexible enough to meet the needs of many disabled workers, including those with fluctuating or progressive conditions. This shows a lack of joined up thinking in Government policy.

“Today’s announcement also fails to take into account that disabled people still face barriers and need adjustments even when they are working from home, not to mention that for some people the social isolation of home working can actually lead to a worsening of their mental health conditions.

“If the Government wants to make work a realistic option for more disabled people then it needs to take a joined up approach with better access to tailored employment support, which is informed by current working practices. We also need a better funded Access to Work scheme, which does not stop funding workplace adjustments for people when an arbitrary cap is reached and a properly resourced NHS which allows people to receive the treatment and procedures they need quickly and before their conditions worsen to the point they can no longer work.”



Loading, Please Wait