Monday, 24 July 2017

Unemployment down, except for disabled people

According to Papworth Trust January 2016 figures the UK employment rate among working age disabled people was 46.5% (4.1 million), this compared to 84% of non-disabled people.

Despite these dismal figures, and with unemployment down to 4.5%, unemployed people in the UK are still punished. We live with an outrageous situation in this country. When we work we are compelled to pay taxes and insurance at source. A system I fully support. Yet, we are then forced to accept a one-sided social compact. An agreement that sees us funding a welfare state while being denied a safety-net when we seek welfare.

However, low unemployment does not seem to have benefited disabled job seekers. Inordinate numbers of disabled people who can work are denied employment due to discriminatory practices in employment procedures. Difficulties are encountered when disabled people apply for Access to Work. The government now funds fewer items under the scheme; there is an imposed ceiling on the scheme giving some categories of claimant less opportunity to buy in the full support they require; and the scheme creates more red-tape, especially for self-employed disabled workers. The end results? Fewer disabled people in work.

Even with all these influences militating against disabled people gaining employment we’re still facing vicious sanctions when we fail to find work in an ever-shrinking jobs market. Often the only type of jobs on offer are of a precarious nature. They are zero hours contracts, jobs that offer too few hours, short-term contracts and self-employment.

Successive governments have failed to assist disabled workers into meaningful employment. Schemes such as Work Choice have dismally failed disabled job seekers, yet disabled people are continuously punished for failing to secure jobs. Failing to gain jobs that either aren’t there or where they are available, they’re put out of reach to disabled people by discriminatory means, including difficulties in acquiring Access to Work.

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