UK government failing to prohibit discrimination against disabled workers
Disabled people in the UK are suffering a “serious regression of many of their rights,” according to a new report by the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC).
The report highlights that in the UK, only 50.7% of disabled people were employed in April–June 2018, compared with 81.1% of non-disabled people. Employment rates vary depending on the type of disability, but difficulty in hearing, which has the highest employment rate for a disability group, is still 13% below that of non-disabled working-age adults.
The report finds that more disabled people live in poverty than non-disabled people, and they are harder hit by welfare reforms, struggle more to find work, and are paid less when they do find work. Additionally, research by the UK charity Scope finds that 40% of disabled people do not feel valued by society.
In November 2017, the UK government set a target to get a million more disabled people into work by 2027. The means to do so included improving the assessment process and ensuring access to tailored employment support.
However, the chairman of the EHRC, David Isaac, commented: “Changes to our social security system and health and social care budgets make disabled people feel like second-class citizens and their rights to live independently have been impacted. Everyone has the right to an adequate standard of living and the rights of disabled people must be made a priority if we are to have a fair and equal society.”
In response to the report, a government spokesperson said: “We’re committed to building a society which is fully inclusive of disabled people across every area of their lives, from transport and housing to health care and employment,” and acknowledge that, “there is always more we can do.”
IZA author, Melanie Jones, stresses the importance of, “Recognizing that the experience of disability varies by type, severity, and duration,” in order to, “facilitate a more flexible and tailored approach to policy, which provides the necessary incentives and support to work.”
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