Chancellor must ensure disabled job seekers are not left behind

Diane Lightfoot, CEO – Business Disability Forum

Responding to the Chancellor’s economic statement today, Diane Lightfoot, CEO, Business Disability Forum, said: “There was much to be welcomed in the Chancellor’s economic statement today. But we are concerned that there was no acknowledgement of the specific barriers facing many disabled job seekers. Even before the pandemic, disabled people were far less likely to be in paid employment than their non-disabled peers and evidence shows that disabled people are disproportionately affected during times of economic recession.

“We welcome the introduction of paid placements and greater investment in traineeships and apprenticeships, but know that generic job schemes often do not address the particular challenges that disabled people experience when accessing employment.

“We also call on the Chancellor to ensure that plans to increase the number of job centre staff will include greater numbers of Disability Employment Advisers with expertise in supporting disabled people into employment.

“The Chancellor mentioned the extension of several job support programs. We would urge him to increase funding and eligibility for Access to Work – a scheme which is a lifeline for many disabled people in securing and maintaining employment.

“We welcome the help announced by the Government today, but call on the Chancellor to clarify the support that will be available to disabled people and which will ensure, in his own words, that ‘no one is left behind’.”

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