The Scottish Trade Union Congress (STUC) has slammed the Government over their failure to support disabled people into work.
Following this weeks damning revelation that the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) falsified testimonies from unemployed people in an official benefits sanctions information leaflet, a Freedom of Information (FOI) request from the STUC uncovers further evidence of Iain Duncan Smith’s policy of attacking disabled people.
The number of specialised Disability Employment Advisers in Jobcentres have been cut by 40% since 2010, as part of the Tories’ ideologically driven austerity agenda.
STUC says the loss of Remploy jobs, cuts to disability benefits and the hated ‘Bedroom Tax’ is proof that this Government is “one of the most heartless and uncaring we have seen”.
General Secretary, Grahame Smith, said: “Information received following requests under the Freedom of Information Act show that the needless policy of austerity pursued by the Government, and Iain Duncan Smith’s department in particular, could be preventing disabled people securing employment.
“In 2010, when the coalition Government came to power, in the 781 Jobcentre Plus throughout the United Kingdom, disabled people looking for work could rely on the support of 499 specialised Disability Employment Advisers.
“Five years later 67 Jobcentre offices have closed; in itself a potential accessibility issue for disabled people, but crucially the Government has chosen to attack disabled job hunters by decimating the number of specialised advisers to help them into work.
“The information supplied by the DWP shows that in May 2015 the number of Disability Employment Advisers had fallen to 297, a fall of 40%.
“The ongoing attacks on supported employment, the loss of Remploy jobs and other attacks on disability benefits such as the bedroom tax are proving this Government plans to be one of the most heartless and uncaring we have seen”.
“Disabled people need support not sanctions to get into work.”
Lynn Henderson PCS Scottish secretary said: “This is devastating news for the thousands of disabled people who rely on these services to help them live the kind of lives most of us take for granted.
“With thousands of jobs cuts in the DWP it means that at a time when there is a greater need for help and advice, there are fewer staff around to provide it.”