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NAT responds to Government's New Welfare Reform Bill

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Changes to the benefits system must recognise unique problems faced by people with HIV

NAT (National AIDS Trust) welcomes the Government’s plans to provide greater support to help people back into work. The Welfare Reform Bill1 presented to Parliament today is a key step in the Government’s welfare reform programme that aims to provide disabled people with greater assistance to find employment. 
NAT is asking the Government to ensure that any conditions attached to this support take into account the unique problems faced by people living with HIV, not least the stigma that people may face when returning to work.  
Deborah Jack, Chief Executive of NAT, comments;
“NAT is pleased to see that the Government is increasing the support available to help people back into employment. This is particularly relevant as a recent study found that less than 50% of people living with HIV in London were in work. However, NAT is calling for any steps the Government takes to get people back into employment to be matched by steps to encourage employers to appoint disabled staff. 
Sadly HIV remains a stigmatised condition; the Government needs to ensure employers have a better understanding of HIV and awareness of their responsibilities under the Disability Discrimination Act so they can support people living with HIV and prevent discrimination in recruitment and the workplace.”

NAT has produced guidance, ‘HIV and Recruitment’, to help employers avoid discrimination and instead provide a fair and supportive recruitment process.2
On 19 January Yusef Azad, NAT’s Director of Policy and Campaigns, will be giving evidence to the House of Commons Work and Pensions Committee inquiry ‘What steps should DWP take to achieve greater equality’ and will be commenting on the impact of the proposed reforms.

Notes to the editor:

1- Reforming Welfare Transforming Lives, Department of Work and Pensions Press Release, 14 January 2009 

2- HIV and Recruitment, , NAT 

For further information please contact:
Katherine Sladden
Communications Officer
020 7814 6733 / 07947 725299
NAT (National AIDS Trust) is the UK’s leading charity dedicated to transforming society’s response to HIV. We provide fresh thinking, expert advice and practical resources. We campaign for change.
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