Earlier this week, Stephen Timms, the Member of Parliament for East Ham, spoke in a debate in Parliament on Welfare Reform. The debate on Welfare Reform for Disabled People came about in part from the comments made by the Welfare Reform Minister at a fringe event at the Conservative Party Conference.
During his speech Stephen outlined the results of the Government’s Work programme which has shown that only 10% of disabled people have received job outcomes within two years of being out of work. He argued that the centralised approach that the Government has taken to the Work programme has maligned the expertise of the voluntary selector.
Stephen told MPs of a constituent who came to a recent advice surgery. Stephen recalled how the man he had met had feared that he would end up on the scrapheap if his local Remploy factory were to close. Stephen remarked, "Today, he believes that [the scrapheap] is exactly where he is."
Speaking after the debate, Stephen said: "As Shadow Minister for Employment, ensuring that as many disabled people are encouraged into work is something that I believe is incredibly important."
"Unfortunately under this Government the employment gap between disabled people and others is no longer falling. The Government should be doing more to learn the lessons of other OECD countries who have higher employment rates for disabled people."