Disability employment gap has barely changed in a decade

The ONS has published disability employment figures for the first time since August 2017.

The figures had been suspended due to a “discontinuity” in the data.

Today’s figures show the disability employment gap – the difference in the rate of employment of disabled people and non-disabled people – has stayed stubbornly at around 30 per cent for a decade.

James Taylor, Head of Policy and Public Affairs at disability charity Scope, said:

“Today’s long-awaited figures show the disability employment gap has barely changed in more than a decade.[1]

“Many disabled people face an unnecessary struggle to get into and stay in work, largely due to employers’ outdated attitudes and inflexible working practices.

“The Government has pledged to get a million more disabled people into work by 2027, which it has promised to publicly measure through a comprehensive annual report.

“Now this data has finally been published, it’s time for the Government to demonstrate whether its actions are improving disabled people’s lives.”

Ends

Notes to the editor:

References

1. TUC (2015) analysis of the Labour Force Survey

  • Today the ONS has published disability employment statistics for Jan – March 2018
  • These show the disability employment gap – the difference between the rate of employment of disabled and non-disabled people - has reduced by 1 percentage point compared to the same period last year to 30.3 percentage points
  • Disability employment figures are meant to be published by the ONS every quarter as part of the Labour Force Survey. Scope’s research team analyse them to look for trends and monitor the disability employment gap.
  • This dataset A08 (Labour market status of disabled people) was last published in August 16 2017. It was suspended in November 2017 by the ONS due to an “apparent discontinuity”
  • The Government has committed to supporting one million more disabled people to enter and stay in work over the next 10 years, reporting on progress towards this goal each year (Manifesto pledge and command paper from DWP, November 2017)
  • The Government also pledged to “measure progress on our goal to get one million more disabled people in work by tracking the number of working-age disabled people in employment in the UK, aiming to see the number rise to 4.5 million by 2027. We will publish annual statistical updates, beginning in 2018.” (Improving Lives: The Future of Work, Health and Disability)
  • But this is only one part of the picture. Now this essential data is available, Scope wants the Government to set out their plans to measure their progress through a comprehensive annual report
  • This data release was suspended in November 2017. As a result, the ONS has stated that “comparisons should be made with caution between April to June 2017 and subsequent time periods”.
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