CONCERNS have been raised after the UK Government appeared to tacitly scrap the role of minister for disabled people.

The position within the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) had been filled by Tory MP Tom Pursglove since Rishi Sunak took power.

However, Pursglove was moved over to the Home Office to be the “minister for legal migration” after Robert Jenrick’s resignation forced a mini-reshuffle on Thursday.

The reshuffle also saw Michael Tomlinson moved from his position as solicitor general for England and Wales to take on the parallel role of minister for illegal immigration.

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Tomlinson was replaced as solicitor general by Robert Courts, but no replacement was announced for Pursglove’s former brief as minister for disabled people.

Asked if a replacement would be announced or if the role had been scrapped altogether, the DWP said they had “no update” to give.

SNP frontbencher Anne McLaughlin raised concerns.

The Glasgow North East MP told The National: “Between now having no minister for disabled people, the announcement in the autumn statement that people with disabilities will be punished if they are unable to find a job, and the fact that greater priority is being given to hounding some of the world's most traumatised people – ie asylum seekers – than to ensuring the rights of those with disabilities, you could be forgiven for thinking that this UK Government simply does not care.”

McLaughlin added: “As for the appointment of Tom Pursglove aka the hokey cokey minister, words fail me.”

The National: Tom Pursglove MP at Derwentside IRC Picture: SARAH CALDECOTT

Since 2021, Pursglove (above) has served in the Government whips office, in the Ministry for Justice, in the Home Office, jointly in the Ministry for Justice and the Home Office, and in the DWP. He is now back in the Home Office again.

In late November, Work and Pensions Secretary Mel Stride said a more “rigorous approach” would be taken to monitoring claimants’ progress in seeking work, insisting that “no claimant should reach 18 months of unemployment in receipt of their full benefits if they have not taken every reasonable step to comply with Jobcentre support”.

He said: “The Government will provide you with the support you need to move into work but if you fail to keep your side of the bargain, if you refuse to engage or ignore available job opportunities, we will stop your job benefits.”

Stride also said that a £2.5 billion package is intended to help people with disabilities and long-term health conditions and the long-term unemployed to move into work.