Rt Hon Theresa May MP
10 Downing Street
7 December 2017
Dear Prime Minister,
I felt compelled to write to you following oral evidence from the Chancellor yesterday (Wednesday 6 December 2017) at the Treasury Select Committee in respect of the impact of disabled employees on low UK productivity levels.
Statistically and historically, the correlation between increases in productivity and disability employment have gone hand-in-hand. It has never been the case that increasing the number of disabled people in employment has had a harmful effect on productivity levels. In no study, projection or analysis released by the Office for Budget Responsibility, who have looked at the issue of productivity extensively, has disability employment been referenced as key driver of low productivity.
It is therefore entirely unacceptable that the Chancellor decided to attribute productivity challenges to disabled people so publicly in this way.
Last week, you personally committed your government to getting a million disabled people back to work, a move Scope warmly welcomed. We have worked constructively with government ministers and officials to ensure that your strategy, Improving Lives: the future of work, health and disability, provides a step change in the employment opportunities for disabled people, and we recognise the commitment of your colleagues in the Department of Health and Department for Work and Pensions to getting this strategy right.
I am confident that you will understand the adverse impact yesterday’s derogatory comments will have on disabled people’s chances of entering and staying in work.
We have called on the Chancellor to apologise and retract his factually inaccurate and incredibly harmful accusation and we hope that you will support the 13.3 million disabled people in the country by doing likewise.
I would appreciate it if you would clarify if the Chancellor’s statement represents a change of policy for your Government and whether this is a view which you share.
I look forward to receiving your response.
Chief Executive, Scope.