Yesterday I asked Work and Pensions Minister Sarah Newton about the increasing administrative burden on disabled people who are entitled to assistance to help them work.
I asked this question after I was approached by a constituent who depends on a support worker to do their job. The support worker is paid via the Access to Work scheme, which gives grants to help disabled and seriously ill people. This scheme is life-changing. And it is not just the recipients of the grants who benefit – we all gain when these people can fully participate in society, including in work. Sadly, it seems the administrative burden of claiming these grants is becoming more and more onerous.
My constituent has worked hard to comply with the requirements of the scheme but the demands have now crossed over to onerous and unnecessarily bureaucratic. I am even concerned that the new requirements may break data protection rules and will check on this. It is certainly a waste of time to add to the already large amount of ongoing admin. Indeed, this person has already been thoroughly assessed and was found to be entitled to the Access to work scheme.
The Minister agreed to look more closely at my constituent’s individual case, so I will take this up with her in the coming weeks.
THANGAM: Thank you Mr Speaker. Would the Minister care to explain to my disabled constituent how new claim rules for Access to Work require filing confidential contracts and employment information of the disabled person’s personal assistant, and how those square with the new data protection regulations?
MINISTER: Well the Hon. Lady raises a very specific case and of course I would be very pleased to look into that. But let’s be clear: Access to Work is providing valuable support that is enabling many more people with disabilities to play their full part in society including work. We’ve recently made a number of changes which have been widely welcomed.