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Disabled people in Britain are getting a raw deal compared to their counterparts across Europe according to a new European Parliament report released today.

Labour's Richard Howitt MEP told Parliament's employment and social affairs committee, who commissioned the report, that the findings demonstrated cuts to the "Access to Work" scheme in Britain were counterproductive and that the Conservative-led government had halved the number of disabled people benefitting from European-funded job help.

The cost-benefit study recommends increased funding for employment support to disabled people, better design of workplaces and more rigorous enforcement of legal protections.

Richard Howitt MEP, vice-chair of the European Parliament all party disability rights group, told the committee:

"Britain has stood by as disabled people have borne the brunt of the economic crisis, which this report shows leaves disabled people twice as likely to be unemployed and sees our country labelled as "least generous" for disability benefits among rich nations not just in Europe but throughout the OECD.

"The figures show that for each £1 invested in employment support, the British Exchequer receives £1.48 back in more taxes and fewer benefits paid, exposing how counterproductive the cuts to the 'Access to Work' scheme for disabled people have been.

"As a Member of the European Parliament who has fought with my Labour colleagues for EU funding, I am dismayed that the study shows that the current government has allowed the number of disabled people benefitting from EU job help to more than halve, from 35 per cent under the previous Labour Government to just 15 per cent today.

"The report also shows that sadly our warnings about the closure of REMPLOY by the government have been proven, with just 3 per cent of disabled people who lost support from this and similar schemes being actually successful in finding alternative employment.

"This report makes the economic case for investing in disabled people's employment but it is the human and social costs of not doing so which the British Government wants us to ignore."

Britain cuts in half job help to disabled people, and is the "least generous" in Europe, report reveals

Disabled people in Britain are getting a raw deal compared to their counterparts across Europe according to a new European Parliament report released today.

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Labour's MEPs on the European Parliament economic and monetary affairs committee have welcomed today's comments by the European Court of Justice's lead advocate that an EU-wide bankers' bonus cap is legally "valid".

ECJ Advocate General, Niilo Jääskinen, recommends upholding EU law on bankers’ bonuses that restricts payouts to 100 per cent of a bankers’ salary, or 200% with shareholder approval. Mr Jääskinen's opinion is not binding, with a final ruling expected next year.

Anneliese Dodds MEP said:

"Labour MEPs led the way on tackling bankers' bonuses during the last mandate, and were opposed every step of the way by Tory MEPs and the Conservative government.

"Financial experts agree that a high-risk, short-term bonus culture, combined with a lack of capital, were at the heart of the global financial crisis in 2008. This is a culture George Osborne, with his repeated legal challenges to a bonus cap, seeks to defend.

"Governments and taxpayers bailed out the banks with 3.9 trillion euros of support. In the UK alone, the support was 1.2 trillion pounds - almost as much as a whole year's GDP."

Neena Gill MEP said:

"There has been a loss of confidence in the economy. Real wages have been falling, the bonus cap culture is totally unjustifiable, and leads to a very risky form of capitalism. People have been taking too many risks for such short term game.

"It is a big disappointment that the UK government is choosing to spend taxpayers' money on legal challenge after legal challenge. Instead of focusing on making the banking sector more efficient and ensuring it works for everyone, David Cameron's government has gone to court to help his friends in the City.

"He should be working with fellow European leaders, not alienating them and losing influence. This is yet another example of the prime minister shooting himself in the foot."

Labour MEPs welcome top lawyer's claim that EU bonus cap is "valid"

Labour's MEPs on the European Parliament economic and monetary affairs committee have welcomed today's comments by the European Court of Justice's lead advocate that an EU-wide bankers' bonus cap is...

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Labour MEPs have urged the government to take concrete action to tackle air pollution, following today's European Court of Justice ruling that called on the UK to establish an air quality action plan.

Labour's European spokesperson on the environment, Seb Dance MEP, said:

“Thousands die from the effects of air pollution every year, and today's judgement shows the UK government cannot remain complacent about tackling air quality. It is time the government took urgent and concrete action to combat it.

"We need strong action to combat air pollution, which is why Labour MEPs are fighting to ensure President Juncker doesn't drop the Commission's recently proposed measures on air quality.

"The Labour Party has also pledged to put in place a national framework for Low Emission Zones that will enable local authorities to encourage the use of greener vehicles to tackle this problem.”

Labour MEPs: UK govt must take urgent action to combat air pollution

Labour MEPs have urged the government to take concrete action to tackle air pollution, following today's European Court of Justice ruling that called on the UK to establish an air...

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