Government hits goal to see a million more disabled people in work

Shefali Saxena Wednesday 18th May 2022 11:20 EDT

The government’s goal to see one million more disabled people in work has been reached, the latest official figures show.


Over one million more disabled people are in employment compared to five years ago according to the latest ONS (Office for National Statistics) data released on 17th May, confirming the government has achieved a key ambition in its efforts to improve the lives of disabled people.

The latest figures show the number of disabled people in employment has increased by 1.3 million since 2017, delivering on a government goal to see one million more in work by 2027.


The 10-year employment goal was a government manifesto commitment originally set in 2017 to break down barriers for disabled people and those with health conditions and to build more diverse and inclusive workforces.

Welcoming the milestone and recognising that more can be done, the Minister for Disabled People will tomorrow (Wednesday 18 May) open a Disability Confident jobs fair at Hillman Street Jobcentre in Hackney, East London.


The event has been set up to give job seekers with disabilities the chance to meet local employers, support groups and work coaches to help them access work and training opportunities that meet their career goals, as work is the best way for people to get on and improve their lives.


Minister for Disabled People, Health and Work Chloe Smith MP said: “This is an important milestone showing our commitment to supporting disabled people to lead independent lives and reach their full potential. Ensuring everyone has the same opportunity for a fulfilling working life is a key part of levelling up the country and we will continue to push for greater accessibility and inclusion for disabled jobseekers.”


There are a range of government initiatives, including schemes in partnership with the health system, to support those with disabilities and health conditions to live independent lives and to start, stay and succeed in employment. One of these, the Disability Confident scheme, helps employers create more accessible and diverse workforces by championing inclusive recruitment practices. The scheme, which covers 11 million paid workers, helps employers think differently about disability, and improve how they attract, recruit and retain disabled workers. Ford, Sainsbury’s, Hilton and Coca-Cola are among the thousands of organisations across the UK signed up to the scheme aimed at boosting the number of disabled people in work. Over the next three years, the government will invest £1.3 billion in employment support for disabled people and people with health conditions. This money will go toward building up existing provisions, including expanding employment support, to grow the economy and help people with the cost of living.


Support for employment will also be an important theme within the DWP’s Health and Disability White Paper, due to be published later this summer, and it will outline further detail about how the £1.3 billion investment will be spent.


Commenting on the impact of the cost of the living crisis on the disabled, Zeenat Jeewa, CEO - of Asian People’s Disability Alliance told Asian Voice, “ It is important that the issue of the Asian Disabled community being more drastically & negatively impacted by the cost of living crisis and made more public and known. Asian disabled people are impacted due to a variety of factors like these: Firstly, they are less likely to be asked or listened to by mainstream society with regard to their needs and problems. 


“Secondly, they are already disadvantaged by the costs to manage their health impairments (e.g.particular foods only eaten, or can not take public transport if mobility issues, Carer costs, medications or medical equipment costs).  


“Thirdly the cost of being culturally different and needing to eat or live life in a specific cultural manner can be more expensive as the limitation of where to buy, or access the services to meet those cultural needs. Fourthly, if you are a disabled Asian woman, then you are triple disadvantaged by the nature of the situation of all the needs and costs associated with those needs are rising with existing barriers in their community & societal pressures having a financial implication which they are not in a position to earn more money to pay. 


“Debts are accruing for many disabled people, and the shame of not being able to manage is evident, where we will soon find ourselves with rising suicide rates of Asian people as a result of this crisis when they really start to feel like they can't cope with the burdens etc.”


Kamran Mallick, CEO of Disability Rights UK told Asian Voice, “Millions of Disabled people and families with Disabled children have been thrown into crisis by the dramatic increases in the cost of living. Many of us use energy, to run vital medical and health equipment and mobility aids, as well as to keep our homes warm. We are not just choosing between eating and heating, as we need the energy to stay alive and lead a life. The Government needs to take urgent action to target financial support towards Disabled people in crisis.”

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