Britain would become ‘world leader’ in disability employment… if plan succeeds


The minister for disabled people has said that Britain would become a “world leader” in securing jobs for disabled people if it manages to meet its target of halving the disability employment gap.

The prime minister, David Cameron, has put his weight behind a campaign to halve the gap between the proportion of disabled people and non-disabled people in employment, from its current figure of about 30 percentage points.

Justin Tomlinson, the minister for disabled people, said such an ambition would mean about a million more disabled people in work, which would put the UK “ahead of anywhere else in the world”.

Tomlinson (pictured at last month’s Conservative conference) was speaking at a seminar held to mark Disability Rights UK’s annual general meeting.

He pointed to a new “reverse jobs fair” that he co-hosted with the charity Shaw Trust and the social enterprise Pluss, which saw 25 organisations with expertise in disability employment offering advice to local employers, reassuring them of the “huge amount” of support and advice there is to help them.

Tomlinson said he would be “challenging” every MP in the country to hold a similar event, and hoped his initiative would create “interview opportunities further down the line” for disabled job-seekers.

He had earlier spoken about the jobs fair at a joint meeting of the all-party parliamentary disability group (APPDG) in Westminster, before heading across London to speak at the DR UK event.

Tomlinson told the APPDG that the benefits system was “quite good” at identifying disabled people, but when disabled people found work they often “disappear” because they do not want to tell their new employer about their impairment.

He said that 300,000 people with mental health conditions every year drop out of employment after becoming unwell.

He said he believed that, in a “Utopian world”, if all businesses knew about all of the “challenges” facing their employees, a “lion’s share” of those 300,000 people would not lose their jobs.

But Mike Smith, chief executive of the London disabled people’s organisation Real, told Tomlinson he had largely been discussing “solutions to support businesses feel more confident”.

Smith said he had offered “less of a flavour of the macro environment, the wider societal attitude that creates the discrimination disabled people face in the first place”, and asked if he had any plans to “strengthen people’s rights under the Equality Act to combat the direct discrimination that disabled people so frequently experience”.

Tomlinson did not appear to offer an answer to Smith’s question.

Debbie Abrahams, Labour’s shadow minister for disabled people, said it was “positive that businesses and employers are engaging” with the government, but she pointed to “woeful” figures – revealed by Disability News Service – which showed that there were just 68 “active partners” for Disability Confident, and of those at least 33 were disability or diversity organisations.

She said: “If there is a real sincerity about helping the 1.5 million people able and wanting to get into work we need to be looking at specific measures beyond the Disability Confident scheme, and beyond the 35,000 disabled people who have had support from Access to Work.”

She also pointed to the ratio of just one disability employment adviser in jobcentres to support every 600 disabled job-seekers.

  • User Ratings (4 Votes)
  • TM

    Even more bs from the near invisible minister blustering about this pathetic event.

    “which saw 25 organisations with expertise in disability employment offering advice to local employers, reassuring them of the “huge amount” of support and advice there is to help them”.
    Why didn’t he tackle the fact that we are clearly being discriminated against. that these so called ’employers’ need reassuring that if they take on a liability, whoops disabled person that there is a “huge amount” of support for them. Imagine if these events were being run for women especially women of ‘child bearing age’ or how about black people. No it wouldn’t happen but it is perfectly ok for this government to talk about disabled people in such terms and for employers to overlook us because of our disabilities.
    I am so sick to my stomach of the narrative that this government is pushing about disabled people and the general public who are up in arms about tax credits but cuts to WRAG just get pushed through with barely a whimper. Or how about the petition for a cumulative impact assessment that was agreed over 600 days ago but is having to be petitioned for again.
    Yesterday I saw a petition for the government to make medical tests mandatory for all drivers over 70. It was started days ago, when I looked it had 130,000 signatures. Admittedly it was a very sad incident that led this person to publishing this petition. But to me it highlights the hypocrisy of the Great British Public who will sign in their 10’s of thousands for the death of one individual caused by one elderly person and yet State sponsored murder of sick and disabled people is ok. And of course not forgetting the mental torture being inflicted on people that they might be pushed off and away from Social Security for the sin of not being disabled enough to be entitled to Employment Support Allowance but on the other hand being too sick or disabled to work and therefore claim Job seekers Allowance.
    My estimation of people has never been lower.

  • srgc2731

    which saw 25 organisations with expertise in disability employment
    offering advice to local employers, reassuring them of the “huge amount”
    of support and advice there is to help them”.

    • srgc2731

      ol lol lol
      The proposal will see new claimants
      of employment and support allowance (ESA) who have been placed in the
      work-related activity group (WRAG) see their weekly payments drop by
      nearly £30 a week from April 2017.
      The Truth
      after 12 months on contributory ESA ( if your eligible)
      you are put onto income related ESA
      at this point for the majority the reality of the Tories war on the sick and disabled sets in
      If you have a partner who works the chances are you will receive no benefit
      savings over £16,000 ) i believe )the chances are you will receive no benefit
      household income from other family members the chances are you will receive no benefit
      company ill health or private pension the chances are you will receive no benefit
      I R ESA is 100 % means tested and also adds the compulsary 25% council tax required by govt legislation

      • srgc2731

        aged 60 worked for 34 yrs before being medically retired by Tesco after 18 yrs in 2005
        recieved a £60 company pension and £103 Incapacity benefit
        paid no council tax or rent
        deformed hip fused spine

        deemed ” debilitating degenerative & progressive ”

        Healed by ATOS in 2012
        have zero savings
        The govt sttes in their letters that a couple require no more than £160 a week to live on

        so now receive £21 ESA AND pay £22 in council and bedroom tax
        is that not a 100 % reduction in cash benefits ? already
        We are the forgotten

  • srgc2731

    no one reads this no one cares at all

  • forgotten and ignored.

    This is a joke, where I live people cannot even get into shops to be served, shop assistants serve disabled people in the street because there is no access even to get into shops never mind for people to work in them and so much more I could be here for days, government try living in a disabled persons world not the ideal fantasy world you create in your minds and promote in order to look good live in a disabled persons real world and then you will realise the reality where in my world you cannot even go outside of your front door without been targeted, insulted and assaulted simply because you have a disability, get real.Until you start respecting disabled people and listening to their issues, views and acting to resolve these and working towards positively promoting disability instead of encouraging this treatment of disabled people by the negative image that you promote and portray which just stereotypes disabled people even more and encourages this discrimination and hate crime nothing will change for the better. Stop scapegoating disabled people for all the ills in the world and start truly respecting them. My disability was caused by someone else and I was denied the NHS medical treatment that I needed which in turn left me disabled this is the reality for disabled people like my self access to services that we should be entitled to receive is non existent. Report hate crime to the Police and you are told that it is your fault and you did something to cause it, not any evidence etc no matter how much evidence it is never good enough and I think I read that most cases go unreported and of them about 5 % go onto to be prosecuted. A Lot of disabled people are refused the medical treatment they need as far as I am aware and many other things they need not what they want but what they actually need and so as this is the case why agree to the disability rights act when disabled people still cannot access their legal rights or the things they need life is just as exclusive as it was all those years ago if not worse. You are appearing one thing but actually doing the opposite, called two face in my day.
    Oh and I used to be a local government employee and I was on my way home should have been on holiday but was asked to come into work as a favour when someone caused the crash, no service rushed to my assistance part of the problem it was all left to late, denied then refused the medical treatment for this that I desperately needed. I was thanked by my employer ie local government for that favour by been let go because I had simply become disabled and they said they could not insure me so actually ironically the government is expecting other employers to do what they are not prepared to do employ disabled people and I am aware that even today local governments employment figures of the disabled are very low. Perhaps the government needs to actually start doing what they are telling others to do and employ more disabled people as a positive example to others and show others how this is done, that is of course if disabled people can actually get into the building or even be able to open a door in a local government building. And what is this lazy layabout disabled person doing up at this hour of the night/morning. Well I am sitting with my elderly terminally ill mother trying to ensure she is okay because she was struggling to breathe and we wouldn’t want her an ex nurse to be a burden on the NHS now must we after all she is just old and ill thanks to hate crime that refused to be prosecuted. If you care for another person there never is any rest,holidays or days off and their is no need for me to worry about been a burden to the NHS is there? Welcome to the world of the disabled in Great Britain
    in 2016.