Alok Sharma, Member of Parliament for Reading West, has today met with his constituent, Mrs Sue Patey, a local Versus Arthritis campaigner, along with Shona Cleland from the charity. Versus Arthritis is a new charity, formed after the recent merger of Arthritis Research UK and Arthritis Care.
Sue contacted Alok to draw attention to the huge impact that arthritis can have on people who are in work. At their meeting, Sue shared her personal experience of suffering from arthritis, and the difficulties it has caused her in the work place. Sue was supportive of the Government’s Access to Work scheme which provides financial support towards the extra costs faced by disabled people who are looking for work or need support to stay in their job.
The Access to Work grant, worth up to £57,200 per year, can help individuals with:
As part of the Green Paper on work, health and disability, Ministers have also explored ways to improve support for people with conditions such as arthritis to find and remain in work. Musculoskeletal conditions are one of the two key areas, along with mental health, which the Green Paper placed specific focus on.
Alok Sharma MP said: “Work is really important for ensuring that people with arthritis are able to lead fulfilling lives and I am pleased that the Access to Work scheme is being expanded to help more disabled people start or remain in work.”
Alok continued: “It was great to meet Sue to hear first-hand how Access for Work can help those who really need it and I am delighted that the scheme is receiving a real-terms increase in resources, enabling increased marketing of the scheme to raise awareness among those who could benefit from it.”
Sue Patey said: “I was pleased to meet with Alok to discuss this important issue, it was a very interesting and positive experience. Further information about Versus Arthritis can be found on the charity’s website: www.versusarthritis.org.”
Photo: (L-R) Shona Cleland from Versus Arthritis, Alok Sharma MP, and local campaigner, Sue Patey