Call to tackle the growing disability employment gap

Business leaders have signed an open letter backing a new report on tackling disability discrimination, including in the workplace.

diversity at work

 

Business leaders have send an open letter to the Prime Minister calling on him to deliver on his promise of a National Strategy for Disabled People, which should include tackling disability discrimination at work.

In an open letter to Boris Johnson, business leaders including Post Office CEO, Nick Read, Schroders CEO, Peter Harrison, and Clifford Chance Global Managing Partner, Matthew Layton, have all urged him to deliver an ambitious and transformative disability plan that ensures all disabled people are able to realise their full potential.

The letter is supported by the CSJ Disability Commission, an independent body, which is about to publish a new report, “Now Is The Time”, designed to feed into the Prime Minister’s National Strategy.

Reduce the disability employment pay gap

One of the CSJ Disability Commission’s five key recommendations is to reduce the disability employment pay gap by introducing mandatory workforce reporting. Other recommendations include increasing supported routes into employment, leveraging Government procurement, reforming the Government’s Disability Confident scheme and reforming the Government’s Access to Work scheme.

There are concerns that the disability employment gap has widened as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. Currently, just 52 per cent of disabled people are in employment compared with 81 per cent of non-disabled people.

The Commission’s report argues that, until employment disadvantage is addressed, disabled people will continue to face social exclusion, financial hardship and reduced well-being. It also covers four other areas of life for disabled people: transport, education, housing, and access to goods & services and makes extensive policy recommendations.

The CSJ Disability Commission is chaired by disabled Conservative member of the House of Lords, Kevin Shinkwin and comprised of both disabled and non-disabled members from the business, disability and parliamentary world.

Lord Shinkwin says: “The Prime Minister’s strategy represents a once in a generation chance to chart a new way forward where disabled people’s potential to contribute, compete and, in some cases, excel and reach the top of their professions, on merit, can at last be realised. We have one shot at this – that’s why it’s so important his strategy gets it right. What makes this even more exciting is that big business is ready to get behind him.”

Andy Cook, Chief Executive of the CSJ [the Centre for Social Justice think tank], says: “If we are to truly level-up, we need to be much bolder in our approach towards disabled people. Disabled people face too many unnecessary barriers in society. There is an opportunity now to empower disabled people into full and active participation within all aspects of society. I encourage the government to look closely at this report’s findings.”

Disability prevalence rises with age. Disability, measured as Limitations on Activities of Daily Living (LADL), affects 40% of older people aged 60. According to the Centre for Ageing Better, at all ages from age 16 up to state pension age, disabled people are less likely to be in employment than non-disabled people, although the gap narrows from age 55 onwards.



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