On Thursday 30 November, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) published Improving Lives: the Future of Work, Health and Disability in response to the Green Paper last October. The publication sets out the Government’s vision for a ten-year programme of reform to help people with disabilities remain in work and to help those who are unemployed enter the workplace.
In response, Dr. Roger Wicks, Director of Policy and Campaigns, said: “We welcome any introduction of specialist advisors to enable people who are Deaf and who use British Sign Language (BSL) to benefit from Access to Work. However, this is not sufficient to plug the funding gap that the cap on Access to Work has for people who need full-time interpreters and can no longer afford them. This has acted as a glass ceiling for people who are Deaf and meant many have missed out on employment opportunities.
“The failure to address and consider the UK’s ageing workforce is a missed opportunity. We estimate that there are five million people in the UK of working age who have some level of hearing loss, a number that will continue to rise, and any plan to increase the numbers of people with disabilities in employment would benefit from acknowledging the relevance of age in many instances.
“We know how important assistive technology is and will continue to be for people who are deaf and who have hearing loss, and welcome the greater recognition of its benefits in this publication. We look forward to finding out more about how the Government want to seize the opportunities technological innovation offers to help get an additional one million more people with disabilities in work.”
For media enquiries or comment
Notes to Editors
Action on Hearing Loss (formerly RNID) is the national charity helping people confronting deafness, tinnitus and hearing loss to live the life they choose. Action on Hearing Loss enables them to take control of their lives and remove the barriers in their way, giving people support and care, developing technology and treatments, and campaigning for equality.