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Parliament: Industrial Health and Safety

A second parliamentary question on Access to Work implies a political game is being played here and all is not well as far as Access to Work goes. Do Ministers actually get it this message - we are not happy - when such questions are aired? They must do, being MPs themselves, and knowing such questions will generally arise from constituents or an organisation. However, the dry answer which comes back, implies they are running away from the problem, or pretending it does not exist.

Lynne Featherstone (Hornsey & Wood Green, Liberal Democrat)

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what provisions have been made in the workplace to allow for deaf employees to carry out their work efficiently in the last five years.

Anne McGuire (Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Department for Work and Pensions)

In the last five years, the Government have significantly improved the protection afforded to disabled people, including people with hearing impairments, under the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA). For example, from 1 October 2004, we extended the employment provision of the Act to cover all employers and all previously excluded occupations with the exception of service in the armed forces.

The DDA requires employers to make reasonable adjustments for disabled employees or job applicants where the disabled person would otherwise be at a substantial disadvantage compared to a non-disabled person. For a deaf person, this may include installing induction loops or visual warning displays in place of, or in addition to, audible warnings.

Provision of assistance for people with a hearing impairment is available through Access to Work. As well as giving advice and information to disabled people and employers, grants are available towards the approved costs that arise because of an individual's impairment. For example, Access to Work can help pay for communication support for people who are deaf or have a hearing impairment. Funding for Access to Work has increased from £51 million in 2002-03 to £64 million in 2007-08.

Updated and strengthened guidance on the provision of support workers, including communication support for deaf and hard of hearing people, was issued to all Access to Work Business Centres in December 2006. The guidance describes the types of support that may be suitable, for example sign language interpreters, lip speakers and palantypists, as well as the steps to take to establish the type and level of appropriate support.

Source: Hansard, They Work for You

Comments (2)

Increased to 64 Million pound for 1/3rd of the Deaf population and yet most of us dont use the equipment or dont know how to get it.

That's interesting about the increase in funding...from what I get from my AtW - they keep talking about cuts in funding!!

Perhaps as DDA is made use of more and more - there's more people applying for AtW - thus the share of available fund per person is less than before despite the increase in funding...

I'll be interested to know how many people are using AtW in 2007 compared to ie...2005 and so on.

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