‘Now is The Time’ – Tackling the disability employment gap

now is the timeThe CSJ Disability Commission has published “Now Is The Time”, its new report suggesting how the Prime Minister can keep his promise and deliver a truly transformative strategy to greatly improve the employment prospects of disabled people throughout the UK.

According to the ONS, disabled people across the UK have been hit particularly hard by Coronavirus, including by a further widening of the disability employment gap, and that is why concerted action by Government and business is crucial. Currently, just 52 percent of disabled people are in employment compared with 81 percent of non-disabled people.


Key report recommendations 

– Increasing supported routes into employment

– Introducing mandatory workforce reporting

– Leveraging Government procurement

– Reforming the Government’s Disability Confident scheme

– Reforming the Government’s Access to Work scheme.

The Commission is chaired by disabled Conservative member of the House of Lords, Kevin Shinkwin, and comprised of both disabled and non-disabled members from the business, academic, disability and parliamentary worlds.

Lord Shinkwin says, “The CSJ Disability Commission believes its recommendations will go a long way to removing the barriers disabled people face, and as such will enhance their independence, financial stability, social inclusion, and wellbeing. We really hope the Prime Minister takes them on board and delivers on his promise of a truly transformative National Strategy for Disabled People.”

Importantly, the report extends beyond employment to cover four other areas of life for disabled people: transport, education, housing, and access to goods & services. It makes extensive policy recommendations which, if enacted, would substantially increase the ability of disabled people to participate more fully in society and realise their potential.

Lord Shinkwin adds: “The launch of the Prime Minister’s National Strategy for Disabled People should mark an important milestone as the country recovers from the economic and social pain caused by the pandemic, which has disproportionately affected disabled people’s income, health, and employment prospects. The Commission believes that central to the Prime Minister’s strategy should be robust policies to ensure equality of opportunity in employment and to support the ability of disabled people to live independently”.

The Commission was set up with the backing of the DFN Foundation to feed into the Prime Minister’s National Strategy for Disabled People. The DFN Foundation, founded by David Forbes-Nixon, is committed to developing a new enabling vision that will seize the disability employment agenda and drive tangible and sustainable change.

[perfectpullquote align=”right” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]“Disabled people have waited long enough and now is the time for action.”[/perfectpullquote]

David Forbes-Nixon, Commission Deputy Chair, said: “Having a disabled son has opened up my eyes to the inequalities in education, employment and life chances for disabled people in the UK. Now is the time for action and driving real change in delivering a fairer society for all. We can’t miss this opportunity and I hope the Commission’s recommendations, particularly in employment, will be embraced by the Prime Minister in his National Strategy for Disabled People so we can draw on this extraordinary and untapped talent pool.”

To coincide with the publication of the report, business leaders earlier this week called on the Prime Minister to deliver on his promise of a truly transformative National Strategy for Disabled People. In an open letter, over a dozen senior business leaders urged Boris Johnson deliver the most ambitious disability plan in a generation and consider the Disability Commission’s ground-breaking report.

In the letter, the signatories say, “disabled people have waited long enough and now is the time for action”. They urge the PM to show in his strategy that he has given careful consideration to the Commission’s recommendations and say, in return, “we stand ready to play our part”

Image by Gerd Altmann