‘Levelling up means nothing if disabled people are left behind’, says charity

In response to the news that the government will not recommit to its previous promise to half unemployment among people with disabilities, James Taylor, executive director at disability equality charity Scope, said:

“This response shows a total lack of genuine ambition from Government to tackle the disability employment gap.

“For every 100 disabled people who find work, 118 move out of work. Halving the gap would also boost the economy by £17billion a year.

“Far too many disabled people are falling out of work, which is why the disability employment gap has been stuck at around 30 percentage points for over a decade.

“The Government must focus on tackling the gap. Levelling up means nothing if disabled people are left behind.”

The Work and Pensions Committee has today published the Government response to its report on the disability employment gap, in which it outlined its stance.

The Committee’s report, published in July, urged DWP to make a renewed effort to break down the “unacceptable barriers” it said disabled people face in the labour market. It called on the Government to re-adopt its previous target of halving the disability employment gap and adopt a new target of getting an additional 1.2 million disabled people into work by 2027.

It also concluded that DWP’s national programme for supporting disabled people to find and stay in work was not working and instead should be delivered at a local level, with the report also critical of the department’s efforts to engage with disabled people.

The Government’s response has not committed to halving the disability employment gap and rejecting the adoption of a new target, instead saying it will “seek to achieve the current goal, to see a million more disabled people in work in the decade to 2027” before setting a new goal.

A recommendation that more funding and powers be devolved to groups of local authorities to set up their own versions of the Work and Health Programme is also rejected. The response states DWP is assessing the effectiveness of the programme before making any decisions.