Government slammed over disabled employment targets


The Government is "years behind schedule" in a target of halving the employment gap between disabled and non-disabled people by 2020, a new report has claimed.

The TUC said that, at the current rate of progress, it will take until 2030 to reach the milestone of having nearly two thirds of disabled people in work.

Just over half of disabled people will be in a job by 2020, 11% less than the Government has promised, said the union organisation.

The report, published ahead of new unemployment figures, said attempts to find work for more disabled people had been undermined by Government cuts.

TUC general secretary Frances O'Grady said: "The Government is years behind schedule in achieving its employment target for disabled people.

"While ministers are right to prioritise getting more disabled people into work, they are going about things the wrong way.

"Cutting vital benefits and employment programmes will succeed only in locking disabled people out of the workplace.

"Unless we do more to break down the barriers disabled people face, applying for jobs and staying in work then progress will remain painfully slow."

Today's unemployment data will show whether a recent rise in the jobless total is part of a trend.

A Department for Work and Pensions spokesman said: "Supporting disabled people into work and halving the disability employment gap are two of our key priorities.

"Our disability confident campaign and Access to Work help disabled people into work and our latest figures show that 300,000 more disabled people are in work, compared to 2014."

Dan Scorer, head of policy at the learning disability charity Mencap, said: "The Government made an important public commitment at the last election to halve the employment gap experience by disabled people, yet there's been no plan how they will do this. Instead, as this report from the TUC suggests, added barriers have been created in the form of cuts to Employment and Support Allowance which will push disabled people further from work and in to poverty.

"Currently just two out of 10 people with a learning disability have a job, despite the fact eight out of 10 working age people with a mild or moderate learning disability could work if they had the right support.

"The Government now needs to outline how it plans to address the core issues that result in such low employment figures. These include the barriers employers perceive in taking on disabled employees, the in-effective Government Work Programme, Job Centre advisers that don't have adequate training on learning disability and vital support being taken away by cuts to benefits and social care."

"At a time when people with a learning disability have experienced severe cuts to benefits and social care, it's crucial the Government explains how it will achieve its welcome aim of getting one million more disabled people into work this Parliament"