Employment and Disability (Access to Work)

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2006 National Disabled Members' Conference
7 July 2006

This Conference notes that:

1)There are 6.8 million disabled people of working age in Britain – 1 in 5 of the total working population.

2)Only 50% of disabled people of working age are in employment compared to 81% of non-disabled people.

3)1 million disabled people without a job want to work

4)The average gross hourly pay of disabled employees is 10 per cent less than that of non-disabled employees (9.36 per hour compared to £10.39 per hour).

5)Disabled people with mental health problems have the lowest employment rates of all impairment categories, at only 20 per cent.

6)Only 17% of people with learning disabilities are in paid work

7)Three out of five employers readily admit that they would not employ someone with a history of mental illness.

This Conference therefore welcomes the Government’s stated commitment, in the Welfare Reform Bill, to get more disabled people back to work.

This Conference believes that employers should do more to open up jobs for disabled people. Jobcentre Plus and its providers should work with employers in key sectors to generate more employment opportunities, and progress needs to be made on employer-employer campaigns as recommended by the Prime Minister’s Strategy Unit report ‘Improving the Life Chances of Disabled people’.

This Conference believes that Access to Work has an important role in supporting disabled people to stay in work, and in assisting employers to open up job opportunities to disabled people. The proposals to remove the Access to Work scheme will have a negative impact on disabled people’s opportunities to find, and remain in employment, and on employers’ abilities to promote.

This Conference mandates the National Disabled Members Committee to campaign against the removal of Access to Work, and to work with other like minded organizations to lobby the Government, with the aim of securing the long term future of the Access to Work Scheme.