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Disability Arts Online

Culture Change / 21 November 2014

Something that most disabled people have been aware of for some time now has been the change in attitude of the Access to Work benefits advisors.

Originally set up to assist disabled people to find work and then enable them to keep their jobs, these ATW staff seem hell bent on throwing up as many barriers as they can, rather than working with disabled people to remove them.

Now a whistleblower in the Department of Works and Pensions (DWP) has come out of the woodwork and told BBC News of a “cultural shift” within the Access to Work (ATW) department where he’s employed as an advisor.

He told the BBC reporter: “We were checking [applicants] rather than supporting. We weren’t asking ‘how can we help you?’ We were looking at how to possibly even try to catch you out or restrict you.”

BBC News has also obtained additional evidence suggesting the changes to the government's Access to Work programme is denying disabled people the chance to work rather than helping them into employment with the number of new successful applicants dropping by nearly 25%.

And all this time we thought it was just us ...

See Hear's programme investigating changes in the Access to Work scheme is available on BBC i-player until 23 November


Colin Hambrook

25 November 2014

There's an excellent article by Wiliam Mager on BBC Ouch! http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/blogs-ouch-29800825

Colin Hambrook

25 November 2014

There was talk about a joint letter from a group of disability arts organisations to lobby parliament to make MPs aware of the real impact of austerity measures on disabled people. Is this moving forward?

Jo Verrent

21 November 2014

Too true! There was a useful web chat yesterday on the Guardian Cultural Professionals site - still time to add additional views, stories, opinions and suggestions for ways to challenge... http://www.theguardian.com/culture-professionals-network/2014/nov/13/disability-arts-cuts-changes-threats-webchat

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