Scottish election 2021: Tories to 'create four times as many jobs for disabled people than SNP'

A new company dedicated to supporting disabled people into appropriate jobs could provide more than 12,000 jobs for those struggling to access long-term employment, the Scottish Conservatives have said.

The creation of a new company, if the Tories won next week’s election, would see those with impairments matched to appropriate jobs, with the aim to provide experience and employment so long-term external jobs could be secured.

The model is based on Sweden’s Samhall model, which finds suitable roles for disabled individuals with external clients and aims to move around 1,500 people into secure long-term employment outside the company each year.

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Scottish Conservative spokesman for equalities Jeremy Balfour said such a scheme in Scotland could employ 12,000 people – four times the number employed through the SNP’s Fair Start Scotland work programme through which just 2,750 disabled people found jobs.

The Scottish Conservatives have claimed they will create more jobs for the disabled population.The Scottish Conservatives have claimed they will create more jobs for the disabled population.
The Scottish Conservatives have claimed they will create more jobs for the disabled population.

He said: “I’m very proud of our new proposals. Our new company, which is based on the Swedish model, will truly give disabled people the in-work skills they need to secure long-term work after the failure of the SNP to help them.

“Promoting secure and rewarding work for those living with a disability, and who want to work, is vital. The employment gap is far too big and the pay gap is unacceptable.

“The economic challenge created by the coronavirus has made the issue even more pressing. That’s why we want to take action immediately to change this.”

However, Jamie Hepburn, the SNP’s minister for business, fair work and skills, said 3.8 million disabled adults and 300,000 disabled children were “trapped in poverty” due to the Conservative UK Government.

He said: “In Scotland, the SNP Government has put dignity and respect at the heart of Scotland’s social security and employment support programmes.

“Whilst the Tory government has inflicted damaging welfare cuts, the SNP Government has established the Fair Start Scotland programme to support disabled people into work, fully mitigated the Bedroom Tax, which would have disproportionately affected disabled people, and set up the Scottish Independent Living Fund, which has provided support for over 2,600 disabled people across the country.

“We have also taken action to halve the disability employment gap through actions including providing apprenticeships, work experience schemes, and programmes within the NHS for disabled graduates."

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