Jo is backing a National Autistic Society (NAS) campaign to stop adults with autism being written-off by the employment and benefits system.
A new report by the NAS reveals a third of people with the condition currently live without a job and without benefits, and many are forced to rely on family and friends for help. Only 15% of adults with autism in the UK are in fulltime paid employment. The ‘Don’t Write Me Off’ report reveals that the majority of the over 300,000 working age adults with autism want to work but are being held back by a lack of understanding of autism amongst employment and benefits advisors at Jobcentre Plus and a dearth of specialist employment services. As a result they often experience inadequate job-seeking support, unnecessary and distressing delays in payment, or are being denied essential benefits altogether.
Commenting, Jo said:
“I am very pleased to support this NAS campaign. It is crucial that we recognise the potential that people with autism have in society and enable those wanting to work to do so by providing them with the necessary resources, whilst financially supporting those who cannot work. I fully endorse the NAS call for a national strategy from the Government to transform access to employment for people with autism across the UK.”
Mark Lever, Chief Executive of the NAS said:
“It is scandalous that thousands of people with autism are being consigned to poverty by a complex and counter-productive benefits system. We are delighted to have the support of Jo Swinson MP and strongly urge other MPs to follow her lead. We will keep campaigning until the Government’s “no-one written off” pledge is a reality for people with autism.”
For more information about autism and for help in your area, call the NAS Autism Helpline on: 0845 070 4004 10am-4pm, Monday to Friday, (local rates apply).