I was delighted to read a fascinating report produced by Scope entitled “Enabling Work: disabled people, employment and the UK economy”. Whilst we all know that employing disabled people is A Good Thing for disabled people, employers and the economy, this report explores how the world would look if more disabled people were employed.
Landman Economics have modelled the economic impact of a sustained increase in the rate of employment amongst disabled people between now and 2030. This report explores their findings as to what this impact might be and points to some of the actions which could enable such an increase.
Some of the conclusions reached were very positive:
- A five percentage point rise in the employment rate amongst disabled adults below pension age would mean that, by 2030 the Excehequer would gain £6 billion and the GDP would rise by £23 billion
- A 10 percentage point rise in the employment rate amongst disabled adults below pension age would mean that, by 2030 the Exchequer would gain £12 billion and the GDP would rise by £45 billion.
In terms of the impact of relative and absolute poverty among disabled people, the following was identified:
- An increase in the disability employment rate would significantly reduce the rate of relative and absolute poverty among disabled people, with a five or 10 point rise in employment reducing absolute poverty by either two or three percentage points, and relative poverty by three or five points.
- If the disability employment rate stays the same and there are no changes in how the benefits system works, wider societal changes mean by 2030 the incidence of relative poverty for disabled adults below pension age will rise from 19 percent to 30 percent, and absolute poverty will rise from 20 to 24 percent.
Clearly it is vital that any strategy for economic growth includes the growth of employment amongst those disabled people who can and wish to work. This will require a number of actions, covering four main areas, which are outlined in the report:
- Employer attitudes
- Improving job retention – government interventions
- Personalised employment support
- Disability, localism and growth
The report states, “The actions which can be taken are many and diverse. More important than any individual step is the recognition that the untapped potential of the disabled labour market is vast. Disabled people must be at the heart of future plans to develop Britain’s workforce and grow our economy.”
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