The government should axe sheltered employment settings for disabled people, a report into the current state of supported employment recommends
The report, commissioned by the Department for Work and Pensions, concluded that “segregated employment is not a model for the 21st century”.
The move would see an end to the factories run by Remploy, the government’s disability employment business, within the next four years. These provide factory work for disabled people and, in theory, can make money selling the products they produce, but all factories make a loss.
Those able to survive in a commercial environment would be spun off as social enterprises, mutuals or cooperatives. The rest of the 2,800 people currently employed in the factories should be supported into alternative employment, the report said.
Liz Sayce, chief executive of Radar, and author of the report, said: “In-work support like Access to Work is the right way to support disabled people so that those acquiring disability can keep their jobs and those entering work can work in any sector.”
The report heavily endorsed moves to increase awareness of the Access to Work programme which provides grants, on average around £2,600 per person, to support people in work. It found for every £1 spent in the programme the government saved £1.48.
However, Sayce warned against making savings from changes to employment support. She said any money saved should be channelled back into widening access to employment support.
The Department for Work and Pensions said it would consider the recommendations and respond in due course.
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