Last Updated: 17 April 2019
Created: 17 April 2019
Justin Tomlinson MP has received an important promotion from the Prime Minister following a reshuffle of Government Ministers.
The North Swindon MP, who has spent more than two years in ministerial roles at the Department for Work & Pensions, has been appointed as the Minister of State for Disabled People, Work & Health.
The role is similar to that which Justin held back in 2015-16, when David Cameron appointed him as the Minister for Disabled People, however this role comes with additional responsibilities, and is at a higher level in Government. Whereas the role Justin previously held was as a Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State (the first step in Government), this role is as Minister of State (a higher level role within Government).
As the Minister of State for Disabled People, Work & Health, Justin’s responsibilities include:
- cross-government disability issues
- work and health strategy, including sponsorship of the Joint Work and Health Unit
- disability employment, including Disability Confident, Work Choice, Access to Work, the Work and Health Programme and mental health in the workplace
- support for those at risk of falling out of work, including occupational health and Statutory Sick Pay
- financial support for sick and disabled claimants, including within
- Universal Credit
- Disability Living Allowance
- Personal Independence Payment
- Employment and Support Allowance
- Attendance Allowance
- Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit
- Carer’s Allowance
- specific welfare and health-related issues, including Motability and arms-length compensation schemes
- oversight of the Health and Safety Executive and the Office for Nuclear Regulation
When Justin held the role of Minister for Disabled People previously, he reformed the Disability Confident programme and encouraged employers to ensure that they did not miss out of the wealth of talent available among jobseekers with a disability or long-term health condition. During his previous tenure as the Minister for Disabled People, the number of people with disabilities or long-term health conditions in work increased significantly, and the disability employment gap fell.
Justin’s reforms to the Disability Confident campaign also saw him host a very successful Reverse Jobs Fair in Swindon, where more than 80 local employers met with employment support organisations and businesses already benefiting from employing a person with a disability or long-term health condition.
He also placed a new focus on ensuring that young people with a learning disability could access apprenticeship opportunities by amending the qualification criteria required to join a course.
Alongside MPs from across the House of Commons, Justin worked to simplify the criteria for terminally-ill individuals accessing support through the social security system, and began work on the new Joint Work & Health Unit which was created to improve collaboration between teams at the Department for Work & Pensions and the Department of Health & Social Care.
Throughout this, Justin ensured that amount of Government funding available to support individuals with disabilities & long-term health conditions remained a record high, and as he returns to the role this figure stands at over £50 billion a year.
Locally, Justin has worked closely with a number of important disability stakeholders including; Mind, Scope, Macmillan Cancer Support, the Motor Neurone Disease Association, the Swindon Down’s Syndrome Group, the MS Therapy Centre, and the local branch of Parkinson’s UK for whom he hosts a monthly coffee morning at his offices at the Orbital Shopping Park.
Prior to this promotion, Justin had held the role of Minister for Family Support, Housing, and Child Maintenance for nearly a year. During that time, Justin worked to improve access to services through Universal Credit for vulnerable people including those who were homeless, refugees, and care leavers.
He secured a new partnership between Jobcentres and Citizens Advice to improve the information on offer to claimants; improved access to housing support for people in both the social & private rented sector; and strengthened child maintenance enforcement regulations - ensuring investigators had tough new powers to ensure regular maintenance payments were made by non-residents parents.
In addition, Justin launched the successful Care Leavers Covenant, which for the first time brought together teams from across Government to support care leavers. The Covenant will help care leavers navigate the work opportunities available and support them in fulfilling their ambitions; giving them access to work placements and internships with big businesses, Government departments, museums, and theatres. He also been worked alongside Barardo’s on a new campaign to improve employment opportunities for care leavers within the charity’s stores, as well as seeing first-hand the work done be PGL to employ care leavers at its residential sites.
Justin Tomlinson MP said: “I am honoured that the Prime Minister has asked me to return to the role as the Minister for Disabled People, Work & Health, in a promotion to a vital position in Government. Having held the role previously, I know just how important it is and how it can help change the lives of so many people for the better. I look forward to working closely with disabled people, charities, and key stakeholders to ensure we are constantly improving the system so that every person with a disability or long-term health condition receives the tailored support that ensures they can reach their full potential.”