Access To Work is an employment support programme that is focussed on getting more people who have disabilities into work. This is why Access To Work Visual Impairment is one of the most searched terms in regards to UK Benefits and government programmes. If you were to get an Access to Work grant, it would help for you starting work, staying in work, or perhaps all you to become self-employed or start your own business. The amount you are eligible for would depend on your own circumstances, and as it is a grant it would not have to be repaid, and should not impact any of your other benefit payments. For more information about Access to Work and on Access To Work Visual Impairment in particular, it may be worth getting in contact with the Jobcentre, who you can contact using our call connection numbers.
Most Jobcentre Plus locations are open from 8am to 6pm on weekdays, and are closed on weekends. We have been unable to determine whether this is the case for this centre.
More about UK Benefits via Wikipedia
In 1984 historian Derek Fraser told the British story in a nutshell. The welfare state, he said:
Germinated in the social thought of late Victorian liberalism, reached its infancy in the collectivism of the pre-and post-Great War statism, matured in the universalism of the 1940s and flowered in full bloom in the consensus and affluence of the 1950s and 1960s. By the 1970s it was in decline, like the faded rose of autumn. Both UK and US governments are pursuing in the 1980s monetarist policies inimical to welfare.
The welfare state in the modern sense was anticipated by the Royal Commission into the Operation of the Poor Laws 1832 which found that the old poor law (a part of the English Poor laws) was subject to widespread abuse and promoted squalor, idleness and criminality in its recipients, compared to those who received private charity. Accordingly, the qualifications for receiving aid were tightened up, forcing many recipients to either turn to private charity or accept employment.
Opinions began to be changed late in the century by reports drawn up by men such as Seebohm Rowntree and Charles Booth into the levels of poverty in Britain. These reports indicated that in the massive industrial cities, between one-quarter and one-third of the population were living below the poverty line.
The Liberal Party launched the welfare state in Britain with a series of major Liberal welfare reforms in 1906-1914. The reforms were greatly extended over the next forty years.
The minimum wage was introduced in Great Britain in 1909 for certain low-wage industries and expanded to numerous industries, including farm labour, by 1920. However, by the 1920s, a new perspective was offered by reformers to emphasise the usefulness of family allowance targeted at low-income families was the alternative to relieving poverty without distorting the labour market. The trade unions and the Labour Party adopted this view. In 1945, family allowances were introduced; minimum wages faded from view.
The experience of almost total state control during the Second World War had encouraged the belief that the state might be able to solve problems in wide areas of national life.
The Liberal government of 1906-1914 implemented welfare policies concerning three main groups in society: the old, the young and working people.
Young Old Working
In 1906 local authorities were allowed to provide free school meals.
The Children and Young Persons Act 1908 introduced a set of regulations that became known as the Children’s Charter. This imposed severe punishments for neglecting or treating children cruelly. It was made illegal to sell cigarettes to children or send them out begging. Separate juvenile courts were set up, which sent children convicted of a crime to borstals (a forerunner to modern youth detention centres), instead of prison.
In 1908 pensions were introduced for the over 70s.
In 1909 Labour Exchanges were set up to help unemployed people find work.
The National Insurance Act 1911 was passed, ensuring free medical treatment, and sick pay of 10 shillings a week for 26 weeks. An estimated 13 million workers came to be compulsorily covered under this scheme.
Beveridge Report and Labour
The aftermath of the First World War boosted demands for social reform, and led to a permanent increase in the role of the state in British society. The end of the war also brought a slump, particularly in northern industrial towns, that deepened into the Great Depression by the 1930s.
During the war, the government became much more involved in people’s lives via governmental organisation of the rationing of foodstuffs, clothing and fuel and extra milk and meals being given to expectant mothers and children. The wartime coalition government also committed itself to full employment through Keynesian policies, free universal secondary education, and the introduction of family allowances. Many people welcomed this government intervention and wanted it to go further.
The Beveridge Report of 1942, (which identified five “Giant Evils” in society: squalor, ignorance, want, idleness and disease) essentially recommended a national, compulsory, flat rate insurance scheme which would combine health care, unemployment and retirement benefits. Beveridge himself was careful to emphasise that unemployment benefits should be held to a subsistence level, and after six months would be conditional on work or training, so as not to encourage abuse of the system. That was however predicated on the concept of the “maintenance of employment” which meant ‘it should be possible to make unemployment of any individual for more than 26 weeks continuously a rare thing in normal times’  and recognised that the imposition of a training condition would be impractical if the unemployed were numbered by the million. After its victory in the 1945 general election, the Labour Party pledged to eradicate the Giant Evils, and undertook policy measures to provide for the people of the United Kingdom “from the cradle to the grave.”
Included among the laws passed were the National Assistance Act 1948, National Insurance Act 1946, and National Insurance (Industrial Injuries) Act 1946.
This policy resulted in increased expenditure and a widening of what was considered to be the state’s responsibility. In addition to the central services of education, health, unemployment and sickness allowances, the welfare state also included the idea of increasing redistributive taxation, increasing regulation of industry, food, and housing (better safety regulations, weights and measures controls, etc.)
The foundation of the National Health Service (NHS) did not involve building new hospitals, but nationalisation of existing municipal provision and charitable foundations. The aim was not to substantially increase provision but to standardise care across the country; indeed William Beveridge believed that the overall cost of medical care would decrease, as people became healthier and so needed less treatment.
However, instead of falling, the cost of the NHS has risen by 4% annually on average due to an ageing population, leading to a reduction in provision. Charges for dentures, and spectacles were introduced in 1951 by the same Labour government that had founded the NHS three years earlier, and prescription charges by the successive Conservative Government were introduced in 1952. In 1988, free eye tests for all were abolished, although they are now free for the over-60s.
Policies differ in different countries of the United Kingdom, but the provision of a welfare state is still a basic principle of government policy in the United Kingdom today. The principle of health care “free at the point of use” became a central idea of the welfare state, which later Conservative governments, although critical of some aspects of the welfare state, did not reverse.
Welfare spending on poor people dropped by 25% during the decade of austerity, cuts to benefits that disabled people receive were significant, Personal Independence Payments and Employment and Support Allowance have both dropped by 10%. Over half of families living below the breadline have at least one relative with a disability. Cuts include, tax credits (£4.6bn), universal credit (£3.6bn), child benefit (£3.4bn), disability benefits (£2.8bn), ESA and incapacity benefit (£2bn) and housing benefit (£2.3bn). Frank Field said, “A £37bn attack has been mounted on the living standards of many of our fellow citizens to such an extent that possibly millions struggle to keep on top of their rent, pay the bills and buy adequate food. Likewise, an unknown number are unable to clothe their children properly before sending them to school where all too many of these children not only rely on free school dinners as a cornerstone of their diet, but on breakfast and supper clubs as well.”
In the financial year 2014/15, state pensions were overwhelmingly the largest governmental welfare expense, costing £86,500,000,000 followed by housing benefit, which accounted for over £20,000,000,000 Expenditure in 2015-16 on benefits included: £2,300,000,000 paid to unemployed people and £27,100,000,000 to people on low incomes, and £27,600,000,000 for personal tax credits.
UK Government welfare expenditure 2011-12 (percent)
State pension (46%)
Housing Benefit (11%)
Disability Living Allowance (8%)
Pension Credit (5%)
Income Support (4%)
Rent rebates (3%)
Attendance allowance (3%)
Jobseeker’s Allowance (3%)
Incapacity Benefit (3%)
Council Tax Benefit (3%)
UK Government welfare expenditure 2014-15
Benefit Expenditure (£bn)
State pension 86.5
Tax credits (Working tax credits and Child tax credits) 29.7
Housing Benefit 23.5
Disability Living Allowance 15.4
Incapacity benefits 14.1
Child benefit 11.6
Pension Credit 6.6
Attendance Allowance 5.4
Jobseeker’s allowance 3.1
Income Support 2.6
Maternity and paternity pay 2.4
Carer’s allowance 2.3
Winter fuel payments 2.1
War pensions 0.8
Universal credit 0.1
TOTAL pounds 213.9
Critics of the welfare state claim that, in addition to the vast expense, by relieving citizens of personal responsibility for their own welfare the government has inadvertently promoted irresponsible and immature attitudes, with the result that squalor, ignorance, and idleness are common. In 1980, T. E. Utley, wrote that the welfare state was “an arrangement under which we all largely cease to be responsible for our own behaviour and in return become responsible for everyone else’s. The temptations which this way of doing things offers to synthetic anger, fraudulent penitence, all other forms of hypocrisy and the sheer evasion of duty are infinitely too strong for fallen man”. Sometimes women who have nothing and cannot feed themselves or their children are forced into prostitution. Delays in benefit payments when claimants have no money to buy food or to pay rent can force claimants to crime or prostitution, Emma Mullins said, “We had just been made homeless and we had nothing, no food, nothing. I still feel angry when I think about it now that I had to degrade myself – but it was either that or see my children starve. I would do it again if I had to, but I hope I’m never in that situation again.”
In 2010, the Conservative-Lib Dem coalition government led by David Cameron argued for a reduction of welfare spending in the United Kingdom as part of their programme of austerity. Government ministers have argued that a growing culture of welfare dependency is perpetuating welfare spending, and claim that a cultural change is required to reduce the welfare bill. Public opinion in the UK appears to support a reduction in welfare spending, however commentators have suggested that negative public perceptions are founded on exaggerated assumptions about the proportion of spending on unemployment benefit and the level of benefit fraud.
Figures from the Department for Work and Pensions show that benefit fraud is thought to have cost taxpayers £1.2 billion during 2012-13, up 9% on the year before. This is lower than the £1.5 billion of benefit underpayment due to error.
In some cases, relatives who bring up a child when the parents cannot bring up the child face sanctions and financial penalties, they can be left poor and homeless. There are also widespread complaints from church groups and others that the UK welfare state does insufficient work to prevent poverty, deprivation even hunger.
Support for raising taxes to finance more provision on health, education and social benefits is the highest it has been since 2002, NatCen Social Research maintains. Two-thirds of Labour supporters favour tax rises and 53% of Conservatives also favour that.