More MS news articles for Jan 2002

Scheme scrapped

Jan 28, 2002

The government has dropped plans to bar 20 per cent of would-be participants from a scheme aimed at helping disabled people find work.

The New Deal for Disabled People (NDDP), launched nationwide last October, provides advice and support for people on incapacity benefits who want to find or remain in work.

Under the original plans, a random 20 per cent of those who volunteered for the NDDP would not have been allowed access to this support, to allow the government to check that the scheme worked.

This so-called "random assignment" angered disability campaigners, who said those excluded would not gain the full help they were entitled to. Random assignment has now been scrapped.

A government spokesman said this was because the national roll-out of Jobcentre Plus, which merges job and benefits advice at compulsory interviews, would have made it pointless.

But Steve Winyard, head of public policy at the Royal National Institute for the Blind, said: "We have pressed the government hard over the last 12 to 18 months for a change in the evaluation system."

Bert Massie, chair of the Disability Rights Commission, welcomed the decision, but warned that the government must monitor the NDDP.

Posted: 28 Jan, 2002