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Disability employment

Sarah Newton, Minister for disabled people

Sarah Newton (pictured above), the Minister for Disabled People, Health and Work, has called for businesses to make reasonable workplace adjustments for their disabled employees and to make the most of the support available. The government’s Disability Confident scheme aims to give employers the tools they need, to recruit and retain disabled and people with health conditions, to become employees. She said: “Disabled people can bring a wealth of different perspectives and skills to an organisation, and I want to encourage more businesses to make sure they’re not missing out on this huge untapped pool of talent. Workplace adjustments are often very easy to implement and usually inexpensive or even free, yet the benefits of supporting disabled people to fulfil their potential at work can be long-lasting for both the employee and your business.” According to the charity Scope, 20% of people in the UK have an impairment, with 15% of people of working age being disabled. Under the Equality Act 2010 you are disabled if you have a physical or mental impairment that has a ‘substantial’ and ‘long-term’ negative effect on your ability to do normal daily activities. In March, London boroughs launched the ‘Work and Health Programme’, with grant funding worth up to £135 million by the Department of Work and Pensions. The programme is aimed at supporting disabled people, people with long term health conditions, and people who have been out of work for more than two years. In London there are currently 570,000 people who want to work but are unemployed, while the disability employment gap has stuck at roughly the same level for the past 10 years, at 26.3%.

Photo by Chris McAndrew, Parliamentary Digital Service, Creative Commons