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Welfare Reform on the Web (April 2012): Services for the disabled - UK

Closing factories for disabled workers 'a disgrace', say unions

D. Brindle

The Guardian, Mar. 8th 2012, p. 8

Trade unions and Labour MPs reacted with anger after the government announced the closure of two in three of the remaining Remploy factories for disabled workers with the loss of more than 1,700 jobs. The other factories faced a highly uncertain future under plans to wind up the state agency and float off its profitable parts or sell them to commercial operators. The announcement by Maria Miller, minister for disabled people, brought to a head a bitter and long-running battle over the Remploy factories, which were set up after the Second World War to provide sheltered employment for disabled people.

(See also The Independent, Mar. 8th 2012, p. 1-2)

Factory jobs for disabled lost as grants are ended

J. Bingham

Daily Telegraph, Mar. 8th 2012, p. 12

Remploy, which ran factories employing disabled people, announced the closure of 36 of its facilities with the loss of more than 1,700 jobs following withdrawal of government subsidies for its loss-making operations. In 2010/11 Remploy made a loss of 68.3m and managers were paying employees to do nothing due to lack of orders. The government claimed that the money saved would be spent on other proven employment programmes for disabled people.

Government support towards the additional living costs of working-age disabled people

Work and Pensions Committee

London: TSO, 2012 (House of Commons papers, session 2010/12; HC 1493)

In 2013 the Personal Independence Payment (PIP) will replace Disability Living Allowance (DLA) for working-age claimants, to help meet the additional living costs of disabled people. A new eligibility assessment process will also be brought in. But this report finds that the Government should not introduce PIP assessments nationally until it has satisfied itself, in the planned initial roll-out of the new assessment in a limited geographical area, that the assessment is empathetic and accurate. The report highlights a number of areas of concern. The current draft criteria on which the assessment will be based are still too reliant on a "medical model" of disability, and may fail to take sufficient account of the impact of social, practical and environmental factors, such as housing and access to public transport, on disabled people's ability to participate in society and the additional costs they therefore incur. The Committee believes that the Government should listen to the views of disabled people and their representative organisations and conduct a further trial before the criteria are adopted and the new assessment is introduced. Once the initial assessments for PIP have been completed in the first geographical area, the Government should look again at the value of face-to-face assessments for PIP claims where claimants' conditions are severe and unlikely to change. It is also important that DWP gets the contracting process with the private suppliers right.

Self-directed support and disabled young people in transition. Part 1

F. Mitchell

Journal of Integrated Care, vol. 20, 2012, p. 51-61

This paper aims to summarise the literature on self-directed support (SDS) in transitions for disabled children and young people moving from children's to adult services. Transitions are recognised as being problematic for agencies and frequently leading to poor outcomes for disabled young people and their families. Self-directed support is a major policy initiative being introduced by the Scottish Government to promote personalised services and to encourage a more equal partnership between professionals and those in need of support. Positive transitions for young disabled people require effective multiagency working. SDS has both the potential to fragment services if agencies compete to protect budgets and power, and the capacity to improve integration if a person-centred approach is fostered.

Understanding disability policy

A. Roulstone and S. Prideaux

Bristol: Policy Press, 2012

In an era of scarce social resources the question of the changing social policy constructions and responses to disabled people has become increasingly important. Paradoxically, some disabled people are realising new freedoms and choices never before envisioned, whilst others are prey to major retractions in public services and aggressive attempts to redefine who counts as 'genuinely disabled'. This book locates disability policy into broader social policy and welfare policy writings and goes beyond narrow statutory evaluations of welfare to embrace a range of indicators of disabled people's welfare. It explores the roles of social security, social support, poverty, socio-economic status, community safety, official discourses and spatial change in shaping disabled people's opportunities. It also situates welfare and disability policy in the broader conceptual shifts to the social model of disability and its critics. Finally it explores the possible connection between changing official and academic constructions of disability and their implications for social policy in the 21st century.

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