Centre for Social Justice (CSJ) Disability Commission Chair, Lord Shinkwin, appeared before the Commons Work & Pensions Select Committee and left them in no doubt about the importance of the Prime Minister’s upcoming National Strategy for Disabled People. It follows the publication of “Now Is The Time”, the Commission’s report which includes recommendations on reducing the disability employment gap and comes hot on the heels of an open letter from senior business leaders to the Prime Minister urging him to show in his strategy that he has given careful consideration to the Commission’s recommendations.
According to the ONS, disabled people across the UK have been hit particularly hard by Coronavirus, including a further widening of the disability employment gap, and that is why concerted action by Government and business is crucial. Currently, just 52% of disabled people are in employment compared with 81% cent of non-disabled people. That is a shocking statistic and one which is totally unacceptable in any modern society.
The report published by the CSJ Disability Commission makes five key recommendations to vastly improve the employment prospects of disabled people throughout the UK. The recommendations, which would help reduce the disability employment gap, include:
- Increasing supported routes into employment
- Introducing mandatory workforce reporting
- Leveraging Government procurement
- Reforming the Government’s Disability Confident scheme
- Reforming the Government’s Access to Work scheme.
Lord Shinkwin said:
“The Prime Minister’s very public pledge to publish the most ambitious and transformative disability plan in a generation has understandably raised expectations. We believe our recommendations will help him ensure his National Strategy for Disabled People meets them. I hope very much that he will adopt them.”
and he added:
“This is a once in a generation opportunity to reduce the disability employment gap. We must seize the moment to ensure that all disabled people are able to realise their full potential”.