The disability employment gap must be addressed
The charity Scope says Cameron’s ambition to achieve full employment must address the disability employment gap.
On Monday David Cameron announced that he wanted to make Great Britain a country of full employment, which would mean “anyone who wants a job is able to get a job in our country.”
Disabled people want the same opportunities to work as everyone else and nine in ten disabled people are in work or have worked in the past. Wednesday,
the Minister for Disabled People Mark Harper wroteabout the welcome increase in the number of disabled people in work compared to the previous year. This is great news and a really positive step.
However the current disability employment gap is too great and remains stubbornly large. Addressing the disability employment gap needs to be seen by political parties as an important step towards full employment. Scope has a number of key recommendations that would support disabled people to get a job, stay in work and progress in their careers.
Scope is calling on all political parties to say how they will reform Work Capacity Assessment (WCA) in the next Parliament. We might have a new provider in Maximus but at present the WCA fails to take into account the wide-ranging social and environmental barriers that disabled people face trying to work.
It is also important to continue to look at how employment practices can support disabled people to stay in work. Our research has shown the most important thing that would support disabled people to remain in work is flexible working. That’s why we are calling for the introduction of a new form of ‘flexible adjustment leave’ in order to support more disabled people to excel at work.
With all political parties grappling with issues of devolution, Scope believes there is a role for regional growth strategies to look at creating more jobs for disabled people in their local areas.
Not every disabled person should be expected to work – and everyone’s contribution should be recognised regardless of whether they are working or not.
An ambition to achieve full employment must include a focus on addressing the disability employment gap and supporting disabled people to stay in work.
For more information see Scope’s report
‘A Million futures: halving the disability employment gap’