Recession hits jobs, but evidence still unclear on disabled people


Job opportunities for disabled people appear to have decreased over the last year because of the recession, according to a new survey.

The survey of social services departments in 54 English local authorities found that 29 of them said there was evidence of fewer opportunities for paid or supported employment for disabled people because of the recession.

And 25 of those 29 said the situation had worsened over the last six months, while none of them said it had improved.

Despite the findings, the TUC said there was no clear evidence that the situation was worse for unemployed disabled people than it was for those who were not disabled.

Three months ago, a TUC report concluded that the recession had not hit disabled people’s job prospects harder than those of non-disabled people.

The new survey was conducted by the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS) on the eve of the national children and adult services conference in Harrogate. A third of ADASS members took part.

The survey also found that four fifths of the councils said there was evidence of an increased demand for welfare advice services due to the recession.

Of those that said it had increased, more than 90 per cent said demand had also risen over the last six months.

But only nine of the councils said their adult social care budget had been reduced by more than expected because of the recession.

In the wake of the survey, TUC general secretary Brendan Barber said job prospects were “getting worse for everyone”.

He said indicators were “mixed” and there was “no clear evidence that things are currently getting tougher for disabled people than they are for non-disabled people”.

But he added: “As the economy starts to recover, the risk is that without support it will take unemployed people longer to find work, and the longer someone is unemployed, so the harder it becomes for them to break back into the labour market.”

20 October 2009