Deaf campaigners against cuts to Access to Work, which offers support for Deaf and disabled people at work, have expressed their shock and disgust at the news that £3 million of the budget for 2014/15 was left unspent.
As this site has repeatedly reported, during the last 2 years, Deaf people in work have suffered from having communication support suddenly withdrawn, long delays for decisions, and poor attitudes from DWP staff who administer the scheme.
These problems have led to many Deaf people questioning their future careers. Some have lost their jobs, while others have taken sick leave due to stress as a result of the problems they’re facing getting support.
So it came as a shock to find out, via an article on Recruiter website that the Disability Minister has been boasting that 3% of the Access to Work budget was left unspent:
A government minister has urged employers to take advantage of government funding to increase the numbers of disabled people in work.
Speaking at an event in London this morning to promote Disability Confident, a campaign to remove barriers to employment for disabled people, minister for disabled people Justin Tomlinson revealed that £3m of last year’s £100m Access to Work budget was unspent.
“There is money available,” said Tomlinson, as he reiterated the government’s commitment to getting 1m more disabled people into work, thereby halving the ‘disability employment gap’.
The news that “money is available” will come as a surprise to Deaf people who’ve had their support taken away. If money was there, why weren’t they given the support they needed?
In an open letter, Penny Beschizza, a Deaf campaigner said:
The fact that £3 million of Access to Work money being underspent during 2014 beggars belief; look at the way deaf and Disabled workers suffered through unheeded cuts and unprofessional behaviour by DWP/AtW staff, loss of prestige, loss of work, and so on.
There are case studies, but these are only the tip of an iceberg of demoralised Deaf & Disabled workers who experienced unjustified treatment in their support from AtW.
I have met Deaf teachers, Deaf Instructors, BSL and Deaf Education (deaf) professionals who had real AtW challenges and experienced breakdown of support through un-Deaf-friendly communications from Access to Work.
Significantly, they are not keen to become case studies, because of fears that such disclosures would imperil their careers.
Please do headline the issue with other unions and allies.
The Government has gone too far, wasted taxpayers’ money on unconsulted changes to AtW.
BUT worse of all, the way the Government allowed Access to Work to be sabotaged has robbed UK citizens.
FACT: many charities funded by donations have had to use funds to fight the DWP on our behalf in the past two years.
UK citizens have been ‘taxed TWICE’ – their giving towards organisations and charities concerning Deaf & Disabled people and young people have been swallowed up by the voluntary sector’s incredible work on our behalf.
Therefore, ministers and civil servants did not carry out their jobs transparently and efficiently – abusing our taxes in the process.
The last twelve months’ ‘remedy’ to resolve the carnage of Deaf and Disabled people’s support in the workplace cannot excuse the Government its action in the previous year’s ‘genocide’ of sustainable employment.
Thank you for supporting us Deaf & Disabled workers.
Share this great, proactive group: http://stopchanges2atw.com/
By Charlie Swinbourne, Editor
The Limping Chicken is the world's most popular Deaf blog, and is edited by Deaf journalist and filmmaker Charlie Swinbourne. Find out how to write for us by clicking here, how to follow us by clicking here, and read our disclaimer here.
The site exists thanks to our supporters. Check them out below:
- Eyewitness Media: TV and film from a Deaf perspective
- Ai-Media: Remote captioning. Find out about 5 funny ways to use captions!
- Bellman & Symfon: home alerting solutions
- Deaf Umbrella: sign language interpreting and communications support
- Appa: Communication services for Deaf, Deafblind and hard of hearing people
- SignLive: Online video interpreting for Deaf people
- SignVideo: Instant BSL video interpreting online
- 121 Captions: captioning and speech-to-text services
- Signature: Leading awarding body for BSL qualifications
- The National Theatre: Captioned and BSL accessible theatre in London
- Doncaster School for the Deaf: education for Deaf children
- Signworld: Learn BSL online!
- Action Deafness Communications: sign language and Red Dot online video interpreting
- BSLcourses.co.uk: Provider of online BSL courses
- Association of Notetaking Professionals: The professional body representing Electronic and Manual Notetakers
- Sign Solutions: communication support, training and translation
- InterpretersLive: On demand BSL video interpretation
- Hamilton Lodge School in Brighton: education for Deaf children
- Lipspeaker UK: specialist lipspeaking support
- Ozen: Australian hearing aid specialists
- Elmfield School, Bristol: Inclusive education for Deaf pupils
- deafPLUS: BSL advice helpline
- Exeter Deaf Academy: education for Deaf children
- Royal Shakespeare Company: Captioned and BSL interpreted performances (see dates here)
- Royal School for the Deaf, Derby: Residential education for deaf children
- RAD Tax Advice: Tax and Tax Credit info for Deaf people
- Performance Interpreting: BSL interpreting at concerts
- National Deaf Children's Society: The leading charity for deaf children
- Signed Culture: Advocating for BSL access to arts and culture
- SignHealth: healthcare charity for Deaf people
- CJ Interpreting: communication support in BSL
- British Society for Mental Health and Deafness: Promoting positive mental health for deaf people