Steve McCabe Challenges Government over Support for Deaf People in Work Place

Steve McCabe MP is taking a stand for deaf people after learning of their struggles to stay in employment because of government hostility towards their need for support.

Since May 2014, Steve has been contacted by many deaf constituents who are struggling to cope at work following government cuts in their ‘Access to Work’ funding, a scheme which is meant to cover costs for practical support in the workplace. This support ranges from British Sign Language (BSL) interpreting services to special equipment and written communication support.

Due to these cuts deaf people are not receiving the support they need, interpreters haven’t been paid at all for months on end which has left deaf people at work with no communication support to carry out their job to the best of their ability. In applying for Access to Work support, many deaf people have been told that they are only eligible for 3 hours work of BSL interpreting services per working week and that the hourly rate would be capped at £20 per hour despite the fact that BSL interpreters charge £35 per hour minimum. In addition to these problems, under new PIP criteria the majority of deaf people will no longer be entitled to financial support.

Steve has been pursuing this with the DWP and recently met with Minister for Disabled People, Mark Harper, to press home his concerns. He has also established via a recent parliamentary question that Access to Work is now supporting 2000 fewer disabled people than when the coalition came to power in 2010. This is despite a government claim that they have added a further £15 million to the budget following their decision to close the Remploy factories.

Steve said, “After all the fuss about Lord Freud’s comments the government has to come clean. Either they want people with disabilities in the job market or they don’t. I’d like to see a thorough analysis of what it costs to support someone via the Access to Work programme versus the costs of paying benefits and them simply sitting at home and doing nothing.”

During recent meetings with Action for Hearing Loss and the Assistive Technology group Steve has been able to establish that people with hearing impairments are often more productive in the labour force and that assistive technology is actually an export earner for this country. The government’s penny pinching and obsession with linking ‘access to work’ support with non-work benefits is putting all this at risk.

Share this
Copyright Steve McCabe MP Click here for a copy of this site's terms and conditions and privacy statement