Government makes cuts to Access to Work programme without knowing financial return

Steve McCabe MP has criticised the Government for making cuts to the Access to Work programme without knowing the impact the scheme has on the economy.

Steve has been challenging the Government’s changes, specifically the introduction of a cap on Access to Work support, in Parliament and has discovered that whilst these changes have been put forward to save money, the Government does not have figures on what the treasury recoups in tax from those who use Access to Work.

Steve recently pressed the Government on what the Treasury makes in return from the programme but he was told that they did not collect figures on this. However, the Department for Work and Pensions have estimated that by introducing a cap on Access to Work the Government will save £3 million per annum by 2018. Steve has questioned to logic of making savings cuts to Access to Work when the Government is unaware of how much it benefits financially from those who use the programme to stay in work and contribute to the economy.

Whilst these changes may save the Department for Work and Pensions money, it may be the case that the Treasury would lose money in tax so overall the Government would make a net loss. Steve has said that this simply does not make sense and the Government needs to base its decisions on better evidence. In an independent review commissioned by the Government in 2011, the Sayce Review suggested that for every £1 spend on Access to Work the Exchequer recoups £1.48. The total number of people helped from the scheme between 2007 and 2014 was 120,430 and just over 10% of claimants account for the highest level awards.

There is no like for like comparison for what the programme costs versus what it costs to pay out of work benefits and many disabled people feel that it is becoming increasingly difficult to carry out their jobs effectively with reduced communication support as a result of the changes.

Steve McCabe said:

“It seems absurd that the Government is cutting a programme that keeps disabled people in work when it doesn’t know the impact of how much people contribute to the treasury, it’s a very funny way of managing the Access to Work budget.

“The Sayce review recommended that the Department for Work and Pensions should in the longer term significantly expand funding for Access to Work but it appears that this advice has been ignored. It’s the same Tory tactics, targeting the most vulnerable in our society, they say this will save £3 million per annum whilst the inheritance tax giveaway benefits less than 5% of estates and is expected to cost the Exchequer £940m by 2020-21.”



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