The government is “years behind schedule” in delivering its manifesto commitment to halve the employment gap between disabled and non-disabled people by 2020, according to new analysis published by the TUC.
Ministers have pledged to reach this milestone – which mean would having nearly two-thirds (63%) of disabled people in work – by the end of the decade.
However, TUC analysis shows that at current rates of progress it will take until 2030 to achieve this target.
The findings, which are published ahead of the TUC’s annual disabled workers’ conference, forecast that by 2020 just over half (52%) of disabled people will be in work – 11% less than the government promised.
The analysis also reveals that disabled people who do find employment still face a significant wage gap. Full-time disabled workers earned 13% (£75 a week) less than full time non-disabled people in 2015. And disabled people working part time earned 14% (£30 a week) less than part-time non-disabled workers.
The TUC says attempts to get more disabled people in to work have been undermined by government cuts.
As well as cutting Employment Support Allowance for disabled people, ministers have scaled back programmes like Access to Work, which provides grants for disabled people to pay for support workers and equipment to help them find lasting employment.
The TUC says also believes that far more needs to be done to tackle employer prejudice towards disabled workers. Research published by the charity Scope shows that 74% of disabled adults feel they have lost out on a job opportunity because of their impairment or health condition.
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.”
The TUC wants the government to:
· Expand, protect and promote schemes like Access to Work
· Reverse cuts to Employment Support Allowance
· Ensure all disabled jobseekers have access to specialist advice and support from well-trained job centre staff
· Work with unions and employers to tackle the stigmatisation many disabled people face in the workplace and when applying for jobs
· Work with unions to develop robust workplace disability equality policies to ensure disabled people have the adjustments needed to stay in work
· Use powers available to devolved and local governments to improve the employment rate of disabled people.
– The TUC report can be found here: http://bit.ly/1TROY8r
– The rate of change in the employment rate for disabled people was calculated using the Labour Force Survey, based on figures for Great Britain as the Equality Act covers Great Britain.
– The definition of disability used in the Labour Force Survey changed in Q2 2013. Therefore the calculations for reaching the government’s target are based on the average quarterly increase in the employment rate between Q2 2013 and Q4 2015 (the most recent figures available). Based on this rate of increase, we have calculated that it would take 58 quarters, from Q1 2016 until Q2 2030, to halve the employment gap between disabled and non-disabled people.
– Gross weekly average pay has been calculated for disabled and non-disabled employees using the Labour Force Survey. It has also been calculated for full-time and part-time disabled and non-disabled workers, comparing quarters Q4 2014 and Q4 2015 in Great Britain to provide more detail.