18th July 2019

Following my debate on Autism and Unemployment, I met with Minister of State for Disabled People, Health and Work, Justin Tomlinson MP.

In his response during the debate he advised he will be pressing the Office of National Statistics to begin recording the amount of people with Autism Spectrum Conditions in employment. I have now asked when we can expect to see these figures. I feel this will not happen overnight, but I do believe he is committed to delivering on this promise.

I pressed him on the autism awareness training initiative the department claim to be delivering to frontline staff in Jobcentres and to assessors. I am yet to be convinced the training is adequate and nothing more than a minimal briefing which is far from good enough. Therefore, I have requested that he arrange for me to attend one of the training sessions.

I have suggested the DWP provide a quiet room within Jobcentres which the Minister has agreed to consider. I also asked for a review of sanctions to achieve a more flexible approach in terms of appointments for those with ASCs.

I have reiterated the desperate need for PIP and ESA forms to be redesigned and simplified which he has agreed is required and is planning to continue working on what are currently very complex forms.

On behalf of my constituents with ASCs and people across Scotland, I will continue to press on these issues until the UK Government ensures those with ASCs are no longer excluded from accessing employment and where necessary have equal access to social security when they cannot work.