Today, Wednesday 7 December, Johnny Mercer MP is launching the APPG for Disabilities report into closing the disability employment gap.
The group, drawn from MPs and Peers across the political divide and supported by secretariat, Disability Rights UK, created this report following an inquiry which received written and oral evidence during Summer 2016 into what is being done to help disabled people into the labour market.
The report contains proposals that have been crafted with the help of disabled people to allow them to engage constructively in the debate and take a hand in the final report that is being presented today.
The disability employment gap is 32 percentage points in 2016 which means the target is to hit 16 percentage points in 2020. This requires moving 1,074,000 (a third more) disabled people into employment and raising their employment rate from 48% to 64%. The gap has narrowed by one percentage point in the four years since 2013. If this rate continues, and all else remains equal, it will take 49 years (until 2065) to narrow the gap to its target of 16 percentage points.
Johnny Mercer MP, speaking prior to the launch, said:
“This report clearly shows there is a long way to go to meet the government’s ambition of halving the disability employment gap.
“One thing that I want to emphasise from the report, which is something I think we can do quite easily, is in the realm of government procurement. The last financial year saw the Government spend £242 billion on purchasing goods and services. This procurement power gives Government influence over disabled people’s job prospects by choosing to work with suppliers who have strong ethics around disabled employment. At present, this is not the case and can be regarded as a real missed opportunity in the aim of halving the disability employment gap.
“Even though there is some way to go, I would encourage the government to be ambitious in their targets. I don’t see any problem in setting big aims and rising to the challenge. However, what this report is seeking to do is to point things out that aren’t working right now and suggest where there are other ways of seeking to achieve the government’s bold target.”
Notes to editors:
- Johnny Mercer MP sits as a vice-chair on the APPG for Disabilities, which is chaired by Dr Lisa Cameron MP.
- You can read the full report here.
- This report offers innovative steps to achieve this through a new relationship between departments of Government and disabled people.