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The present treatment of groups in poverty.

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THE PRESENT TREATMENT OF GROUPS IN POVERTY Since coming into power in 1997 the New Labour Government have identified 5 different groups of people that are still living in poverty in Britain today. They include the elderly, the low paid, unemployed, single parent families and the disabled. They have also become aware of the fact that all 5 groups have one key thing in common; they are all reliant on some form of state benefit. I decided to look more closely into the reasons why disabled people are still living in poverty in Britain today and what the present Government are doing to help them. After all disabled people have been identified as being the real needy in British society since the 1834 Poor Law Amendment Act, surely after all this time this should still not be the case. In May 1997, Tony Blair became Prime Minister of Britain as Labour won a landslide victory in the general election; this saw the end of Conservative rule that had lasted for 18 years. They refer to themselves, as New Labour as they have different views on how social policy making should be approached than the 'Old' Labour post-war Governments. ...read more.


The Government are therefore committed in helping disabled people into work. The largest employment programme for disabled people is Workstep, what used to be known as sheltered factories and workshops. Workstep includes Remploy and other factories and altogether there are about 22,000 participants, which accounts for more than 70% of Government spending on employment programmes for disabled people. Since the mid-1990's though funding has been frozen even though there are an estimated 100,000-disabled people who are unlikely to enter employment but who could get and keep a job through Workstep. However, the most widely known about Government programme to help disabled people into jobs is the New Deal for disabled people. It is a voluntary programme and open to people who are entitled to a disability benefit such as Incapacity Benefit or Income Support with a disability premium. The main features of the New Deal for disabled people is the national network of 'job brokers' mainly provided by private and voluntary organisations. Job brokers have a similar role to personal assistants in the other New Deals though they work even more closely with employers. There is also a greater emphasis on helping their clients understand the demands of today's labour market and to keep their jobs when they get them. ...read more.


After looking closely at all the information available I have come to the conclusion that the New Labour Government are working hard to improve the lives of disabled people and help them out of poverty. Their social policy theory of 'work for those who can, security for those who can't seems on the whole to be working quite well. They have over the last 6 years helped 1,000's of disabled people into employment when it was possible to do so but have also made it clear that disabled people should not be required to seek employment, but helping them to do so is worthwhile. If they could help a substantial proportion of disabled people who are still on benefits who do want a job, find one, they will have taken a major step towards reducing poverty in disabled people. However, they could possibly look into increasing the levels of disability benefits for those people who are to severely disabled to enter employment to take account of the extra costs involved in living with a disability, as it is these people who still seem to be suffering from the effects of poverty. If they could manage to achieve this they could at last lay to rest the fact that having a disability sentences you to a life of living in poverty. ELAINE HOWLETT 1 ...read more.

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