Government releases document on planned cuts to disabled work access scheme - hours after Conservatives win general election

Officials say access to work scheme has become too expensive

Jon Stone
Friday 08 May 2015 17:01 BST

The Government has released a document showing it plans to look at cutting a scheme that helps disabled people into work – just hours after the Conservatives won the election, the Independent can reveal.

The Access to Work fund helps people and employers cover costs of disabilities that might be a barrier to work. The biggest single users of the fund are people who have difficulty seeing and people who have difficulty hearing.

A policy document originally announced in March by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) suggests a cap on how much the £108m fund can pay to people who use it.

An impact assessment of the policy was released on the day the general election results.

“[Spending] has risen significantly over the past five years … One of the significant strategic questions we face is how to establish the right balance between the need to support as many disabled people as possible and what it is reasonable to offer individual users,” the assessment says.

The first option outlined by civil servants in the document is “to set a cap on the maximum value of support per user”.

The Conservative manifesto boats that "last year alone, 140,000 disabled people found work" but says that "the jobless rate for this group remains too high.

"As part of our objective to achieve full employment, we will aim to halve the disability employment gap: we will transform policy, practice and public attitudes, so that hundreds of thousands more disabled people who can and want to be in work find employment," it pledges.

The overall spend on Access to Work in 2013/14 was £108m, covering 35,540 people.

* An earlier version of this story indicated that the policy had been announced in the hours after the general election result. In fact the impact assessment for the policy was issued in the hours after the general election result, while the policy itself was issued in the run up to the general election in March

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