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Get 1 million more people with disabilities into employment over the next ten years

Last updated: 08:31am 24 January 2019

We will get 1 million more people with disabilities into employment over the next ten years.

Conservative Party Manifesto 2017, p.57

Our verdict

According to a House of Commons briefing paper, in April-June 2018, there were an estimated 3.8 million people of working age with disabilities in employment. That equates to an employment rate of 50.7%, whereas the employment rate for people without disabilities was 81.1%. The difference between those rates is known as the “disability employment gap”.

This policy, to get a million more people with disabilities into employment over the next ten years is, in effect, a pledge to try to reduce the the disability gap.

In November 2017, the government published its ten-year strategy aimed at meeting this objective, Improving Lives: The Future of Work, Health and Disability. The document outlines five key focus areas:

  • Getting into and staying in work
  • Improving and joining up across the welfare system, the workplace and the healthcare system
  • Support for those who need it
  • Changing culture and attitudes
  • Technology

The strategy document also includes the government response to an independent review of mental health and employers, which commits to implementing recommendations aimed at helping employers to support their employees.

Following the launch in July 2018 of a £4.2 million Work and Health Challenge Fund to support people with mental health or musculoskeletal conditions to remain in work, in November 2018, funding was allocated to 19 projects. The Minister for Disabled People said the projects would:

“help us to achieve our goal of seeing one million more disabled people in work”

This policy is a long-term ambition that will not be completed under this government, but there is enough evidence of action, with the strategy document, the response to the review of mental health and employers, and the Work and Health Challenge Fund, for us to consider this to be ‘in progress’. We’ll keep monitoring for developments. Follow this policy to stay up to date.

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