SNP MP SECURES PROGRESS ON MEASURING UNEMPLOYMENT GAP
This week, Motherwell and Wishaw MP, Marion Fellows, urged the UK Government to act to bridge the unemployment gap between people with Autism Spectrum Conditions (ASCs) and neuro-typical individuals in her debate in Parliament.
A survey from the National Autistic Society found that only 16% of adults with ASCs are in full-time employment, despite 77% of them wanting to work. The London School of Economics found that figures have remained static since 2007 and are considerably lower than the employment figure for people belonging to other disability categories, which currently sits at 47%.
While asking for steps to be taken to bridge the unemployment gap generally, Mrs Fellows asked that the UK Government ensures Jobcentre staff be trained in understanding Autism; raises awareness of the Autism Friendly Employer Award; and records Autism in the Labour Force Survey to measure progress.
Ministers have agreed to record figures and to meet with Marion to discuss her issues further. They also praised her questioning of the Department for Work and Pensions describing her as “the most prolific Member on parliamentary questions”.
Mrs Fellows praised the work of local group, Autism Take 5, and the National Autistic Society who awarded her with the Autism Friendly Award earlier this year making her the first Parliamentarian to achieve it.
Commenting, Mrs Fellows said:
“The UK Government and employers need to do more to help people with Autism Spectrum Conditions get into work and understand the condition. People with ASCs have so much to offer. People must look beyond the condition and see the person and their talents.
“The Tories’ welfare regime requires an overhaul so that people with ASCs do not continue to be discriminated against. There is still a major lack of understanding from Jobcentre and DWP staff and it is inherent in the system. People are being left behind.
“Society is making progress on understanding ASCs and people with them. But there still needs to be a bigger push from all corners and I will be doing this in my meeting with the Minister.”