Government reveals new plans to get one million disabled people into work over ten years
The Government has laid out new plans to get one million more disabled people into work over the next ten years.
Ministers claim the plans will help more people with disabilities keep their jobs and develop their careers.
Under the plans, more people than just GPs will be able to hand out ‘fit to work’ notices, statutory sick pay will be reformed and there will be increased measures to improve support for those with mental health issues.
The announcement comes after figures from June showed people with disabilities are almost half as likely to be in work as people without.
Some 80% of non-disabled people are in work compared with under 50% of those with disabilities.
Theresa May said the no one should have their employment dictated by “their disability or health condition".
"Everyone deserves the chance to find a job that's right for them.
"I am committed to tackling the injustices facing disabled people who want to work, so that everyone can go as far as their talents will take them," she said
But Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary Debbie Abrahams warned the plans would lead to cutting benefits for disabled people.
"The Tories' cuts to social security support are pushing more and more disabled people into poverty," she said.
"The Tories have already hit disabled people who are not fit for work but who may be in the future in the work related activity group.
"I hope they are not going to now target the most disabled people in the support group, as their green paper hinted at."
The Equality and Human Rights Commission welcomed the plans, but stressed that the benefits system must still support those unable to work.
"We welcome any plans that improve employment prospects and encourages businesses to not overlook disabled people," said EHRC chief executive Rebecca Hilsenrath.
"But we should also recognise that not everyone is fit to work and we should have a welfare system that can support those most in need.”
Mark Atkinson, the boss of disability charity Scope, cautiously welcomed the plans as an "important gesture".
"Today, too many disabled people continue to face barriers to entering, staying and progressing in employment, unable to fulfil their potential and participate fully in the UK economy," the chief executive said.
"The pledge to get a million more disabled people into work is an important gesture but today's publication needs to lead to swift action to make this a reality."