The Liberal Democrats have today launched their disability manifesto, pledging to ‘improve the benefits system for disabled people’.
They claim to have ‘protected disability benefits from cuts’ (see page 7) whilst in coalition, despite having voted with the Tories of a number of welfare changes.
Key welfare and employment support pledges included in their disability manifesto are outlined below:
- Work to improve the benefits system for disabled people, based on the principle of one assessment, one budget. This will bring together support like the Personal Independence Payment, Employment Support Allowance, a replacement for the Independent Living Fund and health and social care entitlements.
- Conduct a review of the Work Capability Assessment and Personal Independence Payment assessments to ensure they are fair, accurate and timely and evaluate the merits of a public sector provider.
- Invest to clear any backlog in assessments for Disability Living Allowance and Personal Independence Payment.
- Simplify and streamline back-to-work support for people with disabilities, mental or physical health problems.
- Review sanctions procedures in Jobcentres to ensure there are no league tables or targets for sanctions issued by Jobcentres, and introduce a ‘yellow card’ warning so people are only sanctioned if they deliberately and repeatedly break the rules.
- Exempt disability benefits from the 1% cap to be temporarily
introduced in working-age benefits until the budget is balanced in 2017/18.
- Not reduce housing benefit for existing social tenants until they have been offered reasonable alternative accommodation. We will ensure tenants who need an extra bedroom for genuine medical reasons are entitled to one in any assessment of their Housing Benefit needs, and those whose homes are substantially adapted do not have their Housing Benefit reduced.
- Continue the Disability Confident campaign, getting more employers on board will help remove barriers to employment for disabled people and the understanding of disabilities in the workplace.
- Continue to support Jobcentres in ensuring people get access to the support they need such as those with Autism or mental health issues.
- Deliver a reformed and improved Work Programme in partnership with English local government, and the national governments of Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, ensuring help and training are more tailored to local employment markets and better integrated with other services.
- Provide support that has been proven to work, like work experience placements that help young people get their foot on the career ladder, tailoring placements for those with disabilities and mental health problems.
- Raise awareness of and seek to expand Access to Work to support people with disabilities in work.
- Encouraging employers to shortlist any qualified disabled candidate and providing advice about workplace adaptation.
- Increase the number of apprenticeships – offering vocational education on a par with academic qualifications and working to increase the number of under-represented groups applying.
Disclaimer: This list is provided for your information only and should not be regarded as an endorsement of the Liberal Democrats or their policies.