On Monday 1 July Gerald Jones, MP for Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney, showed his support for Versus Arthritis, at an event in Parliament to mark the launch of their new campaign report ‘Working it out: Demanding more from the Access to Work Scheme’.
Most people with arthritis want to work, and many can with the right support; however, only 63% of working age adults with a musculoskeletal condition are in work, compared to 81% of people with no health condition, and Gerald backed Versus Arthritis’ campaign to close the disability employment gap, and ensure that all those suffering from arthritis get the support they need.
The Access to Work scheme is designed to help those who are disabled or have a health condition, by making workplace adjustments such as provision of special equipment, or providing mental health support or help with travelling to and from work.
Versus Arthritis’ new ‘Working it Out’ report focuses on the experiences of the DWP’s Access to Work scheme from people with arthritis, and how the scheme can be improved to ensure it does more to support arthritis sufferers into work.
At the event in Parliament, Gerald supported the campaign’s calls for change, commenting: “Too many people with arthritis are being robbed of their chance to stay in work, and a shocking 59% of respondents to the Working it Out report survey weren’t aware the Government’s Access to Work scheme even existed.
“This Government has failed disabled people time and time again, and the DWP must act now to address these issues with the Access to Work scheme, and do more to support people with arthritis.”