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Wednesday, 1 April

Scope for Halving the Disability Employment Gap

The national charity for the disabled, Scope, has published a report calling for more action to narrow the gap between them and the rest of the working population.

Entitled A million futures: halving the disability employment gap, it points out that there is much to do if the UK is to achieve parity.

“Disabled people are still too often seen as ‘risky hires’ and lose out on job opportunities in the towns and cities where they live,” stated Richard Hawkes, CEO, Scope. “The support many need to find and secure work is not good enough. Once in work, there is little flexibility and it can be a struggle to keep a job. The impact of this is profound: only one in two disabled people are in work.”

Scope believes that with the right interventions, there are a 1 million more disabled people who can and want to be in work and Mr Hawkes believes the report “sets out the first steps towards making our vision a reality”.

Last year, 429,000 disabled people fell out of work and into unemployment or inactivity. Scope argues that the human and economic cost of this can be profound. The figures show that 10% of unemployed disabled people have been out of work for five years or more, compared with 3% of non-disabled people. ‘There is an urgent need to better support disabled people already in work to keep their jobs.’

The report states that there is good evidence to prove that there are economic gains to the UK in being more active in closing the existing gap. ‘Social Market Foundation research has found that halving the gap and supporting 1 million more disabled people into work would boost the economy by £13 billion.’

The report notes that government welfare reforms since 2008, e.g. ending Incapacity Benefit and Disability Living Allowance, has resulted in an extra 650,000 being regarded as fit to work. However, there needs to be a major change in attitude by potential employers to this group of people if they are to be successful in finding work.

 

scope.org.uk/publications/million-futures

Article written by Mike Gannon

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