Sunday, 20 May 2012

Remploy Vs Access to Work

On the Remploy page on Facebook someone stated that Access to work no longer funds adaptations to workplaces. Let us not get mired down in propaganda, that is the way of this government and its attack-dog press. Therefore, stating that there is no government spending on Access to Work; or that A2W no longer assist in workplace adaptations is not the case, this only applies to adaptations to new premises.

A2W and Remploy
need not compete
As a disabled person in work I receive A2W for a support worker (for which A2W picks up the whole tab); when I began the job, around 6-months ago, I applied for a bespoke chair, which I now use (and for which A2W met 90% of the cost and my employer 10%); and I'm in the process of applying for a wheelchair hoist for my car.

Let's be clear about A2W. It is an excellent scheme that is in dire need of greater funding. Common sense, and prudence, should dictate that the government pump scores of millions into this scheme, as for every £1 invested they see a return of £1.41 through tax and NI contributions!

However, here lies the rub. Sayce in her review of disability employment support praises Access to Work as the way forward; while consigning Remploy factories and residential training courses (RTC) to the dustbin of history. Using Sayce's figures, the combined government funding for both Remploy and RTC's adds up to over £80 million. Yet, the government has only announced an extra £15 million over three years to A2W.

Disabled Remploy worker carrying out skilled work
Investing in A2W could be carried out while keeping Remploy factories open. The two do not have to compete. Remploy factory subsidies are falling. Given the correct market impetus (the full exploitation of reserved contracts for supported factories and businesses); and a complete root and branch restructuring of Remploy's senior management corps and board of directors, could still allow Remploy to reduce its state subsidy. But, such major changes need time to show results.  

So, as this government strips non-waged disabled people of their benefits, telling them that work is the solution to their being lifted from poverty it shows just how committed it is by offering a measly £5 million extra per year - a paltry 6.25% that it will save by shutting down Remploy factories and closing RTC schemes. Hardly the actions of a government seriously looking to help anyone out of poverty.

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