Scope comments on new benefit sanctions figures

Some 90,000 disabled people have had their out-of-work income support cut due to sanctions in the last year, according to new government figures.

Commenting on the news, Richard Hawkes, chief executive of the disability charity Scope:

“Benefit sanctions don’t help disabled people get jobs.

"Today's stats show what kind of deal disabled people actually get from the out-of-work system.

“At a time when many working disabled people are struggling to make ends meet; cutting financial support does nothing but push out-of-work disabled people closer to the edge.

"Disabled people face huge challenges when it comes to finding work. There’s a massive shortage of jobs with that little bit of extra flexibility they need. They’re less likely to have the right skills, experience and confidence. And employers see disabled people as high risk – when they’re not. The system ignores all this.

“If the Government is serious about getting more disabled people into work, it needs to focus on giving disabled people the specialist, tailored and flexible support they need and supporting employers to see that disabled people can do as a good a job as anyone else.

“The current system isn't working. The Government has publically scolded Atos on how it runs the fit-for-work test, the cost of appeals has skyrocketed, assessors have resigned in disgust and the test has received criticism from the Public Accounts Committee and National Audit Office.

“We have also witnessed shocking undercover footage of how Atos assessors’ training and heard horror stories of disabled people inappropriately found fit to work. Meanwhile the Work Programme has only managed to find jobs for a tiny number of disabled people."

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