In a Treasury Select Committee yesterday the Chancellor, Philip Hammond, seemed to suggest that problems with the UK’s productivity could in part be explained by a supposed increase in the numbers of disabled people being employed.
We have written to the Chancellor today to express the shock and disappointment felt in response to his comments. We have also requested a meeting with the Chancellor.
Disability employment is already unacceptably low with just 47.6% of disabled adults in employment, compared to the 79.2% of non-disabled people. Many disabled people have faced discrimination in their search for work from employers. Unfortunately, the Chancellors comments are likely to reinforce damaging misconceptions about disabled people which run in opposition to the Government’s commitment to get more disabled people into work.
We have urged the Chancellor to issue an apology for the offence they have caused to the millions of disabled people across the UK.
At Muscular Dystrophy UK, we know how difficult disabled people find getting employment and that’s why we set up our Moving Up project, kindly funded by the City Bridge Trust, to help young disabled Londoners have a better chance of getting into employment. We offer work placements in our office and at external organisations, and help participants with interview skills and building their CV.
Since 2016, we’ve had 24 young disabled people on placements; 10 have gone on to employment or have returned to education. Another 4 have gone onto other external placements and paid internships. In addition, Moving Up also runs two working groups looking at what barriers exist that prevent disabled people finding and staying in employment.
There are many organisations that rightly recognise the immense talent a disabled person can bring. At Muscular Dystrophy UK we employ and work with people with disabilities across the organisation. We are keen to work with the Government on employment policy to challenge the barriers we know exist.
We hope to meet with the Chancellor and introduce him to someone who has been through the Moving Up project so that he can hear first-hand about how beneficial such schemes are.
For more information, please contact Clare Lucas at firstname.lastname@example.org or on 020 7803 4838.