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Government hits goal to see a million more disabled people in work

Over one million more disabled people are in employment compared to five years ago according to the latest ONS (Office for National Statistics) data released today (Tuesday 17 May), confirming the government has achieved a key ambition in its efforts to improve the lives of disabled people.

The latest figures show the number of disabled people in employment has increased by 1.3 million since 2017, delivering on a government goal to see one million more in work by 2027.

The 10-year employment goal was a government manifesto commitment originally set in 2017 to break down barriers for disabled people and those with health conditions and to build more diverse and inclusive workforces.

Welcoming the milestone and recognizing that more can be done, the Minister for Disabled People will tomorrow (Wednesday 18 May) open a Disability Confident jobs fair at Hillman Street Jobcentre in Hackney, East London.

The event has been set up to give jobseekers with disabilities the chance to meet local employers, support groups and work coaches to help them access work and training opportunities that meet their career goals, as work is the best way for people to get on and improve their lives.

Minister for Disabled People, Health and Work Chloe Smith MP said:

This is an important milestone showing our commitment to supporting disabled people to lead independent lives and reach their full potential.

Ensuring everyone has the same opportunity for a fulfilling working life is a key part of leveling up the country and we will continue to push for greater accessibility and inclusion for disabled jobseekers.

There are a range of government initiatives, including schemes in partnership with the health system, to support those with disabilities and health conditions to live independent lives and to start, stay and succeed in employment.

One of these, the Disability Confident scheme, helps employers create more accessible and diverse workforces by championing inclusive recruitment practices. The scheme, which covers 11 million paid workers, helps employers think differently about disability, and improve how they attract, recruit and retain disabled workers. Ford, Sainsbury’s, Hilton and Coca-Cola are among the thousands of organizations across the UK signed up to the scheme aimed at increasing the number of disabled people in work.

Over the next three years, the government will invest £1.3 billion in employment support for disabled people and people with health conditions. This money will go toward building up existing provision, including expanding employment support, to grow the economy and help people with the cost of living.

Support into employment will also be an important theme within the DWP’s Health and Disability White Paper, due to be published later this summer, and it will outline further detail about how the £1.3 billion investment will be spent.

further information

  • Other DWP initiatives include the Intensive Personalized Employment Support programme, Access to Work, Employment Advisors in Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) services and Disability Confident.
  • In 2017 the government set a goal to see a million more disabled people in employment between 2017 and 2027. The latest figures released for quarter 1 2022 show that between quarter 1 2017 and quarter 1 2022 the number of disabled people in employment increased by 1.3 million .
  • There were 4.8 million disabled people in employment in the UK in quarter 1 2022.
    • This is an increase of 460,000 on the year, an increase of 470,000 since Quarter 1 2020 and an overall increase of 1.9 million since the same quarter in 2014.
  • The disability employment gap was 28.2 percentage points in quarter 1 2022.
    • This is a decrease of 0.2 percentage points on the year, a decrease of 0.5 percentage points since quarter 1 2020 and an overall decrease of 5.6 percentage points since the same quarter in 2014.

Media inquiries for this press release – 0115 965 8781

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