MARION MEETS WITH UK MINISTER TO CALL FOR SUPPORT AND UNDERSTANDING
Motherwell and Wishaw MP, Marion Fellows, this week met with the Minister of State for Disabled People, Health and Work – Justin Tomlinson MP – to push for further action to increase employment amongst people with Autism Spectrum Conditions (ASCs).
Following her debate two weeks ago on autism and unemployment, Marion pushed the Minister to include autism in the labour force survey as soon as possible so that progress could be measured.
The Minister was also pressed to improve training for Jobcentre staff with Marion asking to attend a training session to make her own assessment.
Marion called for quiet rooms in Jobcentres, a more flexible approach to appointments for people with ASCs and simpler application forms for PIP and ESA.
A survey from the National Autistic Society found that 16% of adults with ASCs are in full-time employment, despite 77% 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%.
Earlier this year, Marion became the first elected representative in the UK to receive the National Autistic Society’s Autism Friendly Award.
Commenting, Marion said:
“We are achieving progress on support for and understanding of people with ASCs. But the UK Government really must grasp that the bare minimum will not do and that much more needs to be done to provide equality of opportunities.
“There are many simple steps that can be taken in Jobcentres, such as quiet rooms and more flexibility with appointments, to make things more accommodating for people with ASCs.
“In turn, this will make it easier for them to get the support they need to get into employment where they have so much to offer.
“It’s not just Government Ministers who need to improve their understanding of ASCs, it’s employers and society. In addition to the work carried out by community groups in Motherwell and Wishaw and across Scotland, this will improve their life chances.”