Manifesto calls for action on disability inclusion as pay gap for disabled people widens

two people talking to illustrate the issue of disability inclusionA leading non-profit disability and business organisation is calling on the future Government to commit to a series of actions to support businesses to deliver on disability inclusion. Business Disability Forum published its ‘Manifesto for Inclusive Change’ today (3 December) to mark the United Nations International Day of Persons with Disabilities. The manifesto calls for action in seven areas to ensure that the role businesses play in disabled people’s lives is enhanced, not inhibited, by government policy. To read Business Disability Forum’s ‘Manifesto for Inclusive Change’ go to . Follow the debate at #DisabilitySmart.

The report is published as the Office for National Statistics (ONS) found that disabled employees are paid 12.2 percent less than their non-disabled peers. According to official government data, in 2018 the median pay for non-disabled workers was £12.11 an hour, against £10.63 for disabled. London had the widest disability pay gap at 15.3 percent, with the narrowest in Scotland, at 8.3 percent. The gap was the widest for those in their 30s and 40s, the ONS said in its report.

The future Government is called upon to take the following actions by the Business Disability Forum:

  • To introduce targeted opportunities, including paid apprenticeships, for people with learning disabilities; recognising the challenges presented by a flattening of job infrastructure.
  • To carry out a robust equality analysis of environmental and human rights policies.
  • To seek the development of a new cross-Government approach to disability; bringing whole-Government consideration to all policy development.
  • To prevent any further watering down of the Equality Act and increasing the enforcement powers and authority of the EHRC, or a similar body. Rights must be enforced, not just protected.
  • To reform Access to Work and to remove the £59,200 cap.
  • To ensure all education and learning opportunities are inclusive and accessible.
  • To introduce a wholesale shift from mandatory ‘one size fits all businesses’ government-led initiatives to an outcome focus approach.

Diane Lightfoot, CEO, Business Disability Forum, said: “Business Disability Forum’s 300 Members and Partners represent 30 per cent of the workforce in the UK. They have all committed to make disability inclusion a priority within their organisations. We now need a commitment from the future Government which mirrors this, and which enhances rather than inhibits the actions being taken by businesses.

“We are in a period of immense change. Brexit, skills gaps and shortages in many key sectors, climate change, technology and innovation. Our ‘Manifesto for Inclusive change’ draws on the experiences of our Members and Partners and disabled people working within those organisations. We are calling for informed, joined-up, inclusive policies which deliver on improving the life chances of disabled people and ensure disabled people are not left behind.”