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Why is the DWP not under continual criticism for the way it collects and presents statistics?  The intention is always to put forward the best possible impression of the Department – and never to present the facts in a clear, usable way.

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has been accused of manipulating statistics in an attempt to hide the ongoing barriers, cuts and harassment experienced by disabled people seeking support from a key disability employment programme.

The claims followed the release of new figures which showed the number of disabled people approved every year for support from the Access to Work (AtW) programme had fallen by 15 per cent under seven years of Conservative rule.

The scheme has been repeatedly praised as an effective way of supporting disabled people in work and ensuring they keep their jobs, and provides funding for work-related support such as aids and equipment, communication support, travel to work, physical adaptations to a workplace, and hiring support workers.

Deaf and disabled campaigners cast grave doubt last night (Wednesday) on the figures and suggested DWP was attempting to camouflage continuing cuts to people’s support.

Although the figures show the number of people who had support packages approved in each year, they do not include those who continue to receive AtW support without the need for reassessment, or show how many people lost their support or had it cut after being reassessed.

This means it is impossible to know how many disabled people are currently receiving AtW compared with previous years, or how the average level of support packages have risen or fallen.

Ellen Clifford (pictured, right), Inclusion London’s campaigns and policy manager, said DWP’s document “takes creative use of statistics to a whole new level of unreality”.

She said the motivation for changing the way the statistics were collated could only be to disguise what was really happening “because they now provide a much less clear picture of how many people the scheme is benefiting… The manipulation of figures in this way suggests the DWP has something to hide”.

Source: DWP ‘manipulated Access to Work figures to hide cuts and harassment’


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