The Government today announced it is devolving new powers to London and Greater Manchester to help thousands more disabled people get into work.
According to Whitehall’s figures, the gap between the employment rates of disabled and non-disabled people is 32% - despite the number of disabled people in work increasing by 600,000 in the last three years.
The Department of Work and Pensions said the two cities will receive £100m - £72m to London, £28m to Greater Manchester - to develop, procure and deliver localised versions of the new Work and Health Programme to fit the needs of their residents.
This will allow for more intense, tailored support based on local expertise to help the disabled into long-term employment, the work and pensions secretary Damian Green said.
‘This is a significant step to help thousands of disabled and vulnerable people get the support they need to move away from benefits and find lasting work,’ said Mr Green.
‘Good work has huge benefits for physical and mental health and we are committed to helping all those people who can work to find work.
‘By devolving powers we are sending our clearest message yet that we are serious about making changes for the better, and believe this can be found in the expertise of local providers who know their residents best.’
The Labour mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, welcomed the announcement and said it was a great example of bipartisan politics.
‘This is a great example of how we can put party politics aside and work closely with the national government in the best interests of all Londoners,’ he said.
‘Delivering this programme at a local level will result in greater integration of employment support with other local services. This will lead to better outcomes for Londoners, with those who need support receiving it at the right time.’
Cllr Sean Anstee, Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) lead member for skills and employment also welcomed the announcement.
‘In Greater Manchester we know that when we create local solutions to help people back in to work they are much more effective,’ he said.
‘Through intensive, tailored support from local key workers our Working Well programme has helped people right across our city-region get back in to the workplace.
‘These new devolved powers will help us expand Working Well and make a real difference to people’s lives. More people will now get the support they need to find a job and be successful in Greater Manchester.’