Warning Over Disability Employment Gap

The Pandemic has made the gap in employment rates between able bodied and disabled people wider, the Labour Party has said.

Chair of the party Annelise Dodds MP raised the issue on a visit to a signage factory in Warwickshire that employs 30 disabled people, noting that those with disabilities have been more likely to be furloughed by their employer during the pandemic.

Commenting on the issue as she pledged her party would end ‘insecure work’ if returned to office at the next election, Ms Dodds said: “We’re saying to the government: ‘You’ve got to take action here. People want to be able to work.”

In response, minister for disabled people Justin Tomlinson said the number of disabled people in work had increased under the Conservatives and the government has “ambitious” aims to get another million into the workforce by 2027.

The acknowledgement of the challenge in itself, whatever the proposed solutions, represents a reality check. With the employment rate nearly 27 per cent lower for the disabled, a great many more find themselves living off benefits instead of being able to pay their own way, despite many being capable and qualified to undertake all sorts of work.

Among the consequences of this may be the reduced financial capability of disabled people to pay for equipment for their own home to make life easier, such as a disabled shower bath.

In such instances, it will be particularly important for those in receipt of disability-related benefits to establish what more help is available to them to ensure bathrooms and other parts of the house are equipped as they need to be.

According to figures published by the House of Commons Library in April this year, the unemployment rate for disabled people at the end of 2020 was 8.4 per cent, compared with 4.6 per cent who were able bodied. Only 52.3 per cent of disabled people were in work, compared with an able-bodied employment rate of 81.1 per cent.

 

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