Time to tackle burning injustice of disability employment gap

7 September 2017

With an employment rate gap of 30 percentage points, much higher than in other countries, it’s time for Government and employers to come together to make the labour market work for people with disabilities and health conditions.

Today, Learning and Work Institute, supported by Shaw Trust, launch Opportunity for All, a collection of essays by leading health and employment experts on increasing employment opportunities for disabled people.

The collection features new insight, analysis and proposals from big names in the movement for a more accessible labour market, including, House of Commons Work and Pensions Committee Chair, Rt Hon Frank Field MP, former Disability Rights UK Chief Executive, Liz Sayce, and Paulette Cohen, Diversity and Inclusion Director at Barclays.

Disability employment has been cited as a priority for the government; the last two Conservative Party manifestos have made pledges to reduce the gap between the employment rates of disabled and non-disabled people.

As well as tackling big issues such as employment support for people with mental health problems, reforming the Work Capability Assessment and changes to benefits; authors uncover further injustices faced by disabled people in work, such as a pay penalty of £1.50 per hour.

Speaking of the launch of Opportunity for All, Stephen Evans, Chief Executive at Learning and Work Institute, said,

“Employment in the UK is at a record high, but we remain some way short of full employment when too many groups of people have much less chance to work. Nowhere is this starker than for disabled people. That’s why Learning and Work Institute is calling for a ten year plan to halve the disability employment gap.

“The past decade is littered with Green Papers, targets and policy initiatives, but the scale of action has never matched the ambition. This essay collection, supported by Shaw Trust, provides robust and compelling arguments for deliverable reforms from this country’s leading experts. I encourage everyone with an interest in equality and social justice to take note.”

Opportunity for All, and an accompanying foreword from the Minister for Disabled People, Health and Work, Penny Mordaunt MP, is available here: www.learningandwork.org.uk/opportunity-for-all

Opportunity for All