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Welfare Reform on the Web (July 2011): Services for the disabled - UK

Disabling or enabling: the extension of work-related condtionality to disabled people

R. Patrick

Social Policy and Society, vol.10, 2011, p. 309-320

The first decade of the 21st century has seen a sustained concern with attaching conditions to the receipt of welfare benefits. This has frequently been tied to efforts to encourage benefits claimants to work through a mixture of carrots and sticks. This article examines a small-scale research project on citizens' attitudes to the extension of work-related conditionality to disabled people. Three focus groups were held with participants segmented according to whether or not they were disabled, to enable a comparison of the attitudes of those who would and would not be affected by the extension of conditionality. Disabled participants spoke of their desire to work being impeded by daily experiences of discrimination and various barriers to inclusion. It is concluded that sanctions and conditions attached to benefits are unlikely to be effective in getting disabled claimants into jobs.

Getting in, staying in and getting on: disability employment support fit for the future

Liz Sayce

London: TSO, 2011 (Cm 8081)

This review of disability employment support seeks to ensure that disabled people have the opportunities and support needed to meet their employment aspirations. The review has set out a number of recommendations for employment support and the author has focused on three areas to promote these objectives:

  • Setting out the types of support that today's young disabled people will want in a future economy
  • Enshrining the right to work objectives as set out in the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
  • Making a case for cross-government work to unlock the big enablers of employment; this includes raising the aspirations of disabled people.

For 'getting in' there should be more disabled people doing apprenticeships, work experience and work placements; for 'staying in' there should be better promotion for Access to Work for retention; and for 'getting on' there should be greater encouragement of disabled people to set up businesses and gain skills for career development.

Scapegoat: why we are failing disabled people

K. Quarmby

London: Portobello, 2011

Every few months there is a shocking news story about the sustained, and often fatal, abuse of a disabled person. It is easy to write off such cases as bullying that got out of hand, terrible criminal anomalies or regrettable failures of the care system, but in fact they point to a more uncomfortable and fundamental truth about how our society treats its most unequal citizens. This book looks behind the headlines to trace the history of disability and our discomfort with disabled people, from Greek and Roman culture through the Industrial Revolution and the origins of Britain's asylum system to the eugenics movement and the Holocaust, the recent introduction of Ugly Laws A in the US and the grim effects of Britain's hapless community care initiative. It also charts the modern disability rights movement from the veterans of WW2 and Vietnam to those still fighting for independent living, the end of segregation, and equal rights.

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