The Government has announced plans to close the disability employment gap in the UK in a new green paper.
The aim is to get 1 million disabled people in work and halve the gap between disabled and non-disabled people. Less than five out of 10 disabled people have jobs, compared with eight in 10 non-disabled people. The disabled employment rate at the end of 2015 was 46.7%, compared to 80.3% for non-disabled people.
A complete overhaul of fit-to-work assessments is also included in the proposals. The Government hopes that overhauling the statutory sick pay and GP fit notes, people can make phased returns to work. It also wants to encourage early treatment to stop people dropping out of employment. The aim is for disabled people and those with long-term health conditions to receive more focused and personalised support.
While disability campaigners welcome the proposals, they warn against forcing disabled people into jobs they cannot do.
The Government also want to raise awareness that having a stable job has significant health benefits.
The UN has recently published a report heavily criticising the UK Government’s treatment of disabled people. The UN report says the rights of disabled people in the UK have been violated. It criticised the UK Government’s bedroom tax and cuts to disability benefits and social care budgets. The report said spending cuts mean disabled people have less opportunity to work, live independently and have a reasonable standard of living. It urged the Government to protect the rights of disabled people.
The Government said the report reflected an outdated view of disability in the UK and was “patronising and offensive”. The Government says it has spent £50bn a year to support sick and disabled people, more than many other countries.
But disability campaigners say the report is an accurate reflection of the financial and social pressures experienced by disabled people.
Benefits of employing disabled people
As the Government rolls out its proposals, an increasing number of employers are already discovering the benefits of employing disabled people. Although some business owners have concerns about the cost and potential challenges of employing disabled people, many have found that by making a small investment of their time and money, they cana create a talented and diverse workforce.
The Government’s Work and Pensions website has useful information about employing disabled people and the support available to businesses.
Independence to get from A to B
Working is just one way for a disabled person to have independence. To have the freedom of being able to get to and from work, or just from A to B, it is essential to have reliable and accessible transport. Gowrings Mobility has a wide range of wheelchair accessible vehicles available for sale and hire. For more information call 0845 608 8020, 01635 588942 or get in touch online.