2016 employment statistics revealed that people with disabilities in the UK were being assessed as “fit to work” when in reality they were not, Martin Williams reported in the Guardian in February 2017. Government officials have sought to narrow the employment gap between people with disabilities and non-disabled people. Williams reported that, “Although charities and activists share that ambition, they accuse the government of acting counterproductively, with a punitive agenda of sanctions and funding cuts.”
Despite government claims that “hundreds of thousands” more disabled people have found work in recent years, “most of this is not down to any government policy–it’s simply that there are now just more disabled people overall,” Williams reported.
The new jobs held by people with disabilities are not necessarily good jobs either. According to one disability campaigner quoted in the article, “There are a lot of people on a hand-to-mouth existence, on minimum wage, working part-time, or on zero-hours contracts.” Official statistics for employment include anyone who has worked “at least one hour”, as well as people in some government training programs. “It’s not good enough to have an expectation that disabled people should just have any old job to get off benefits,” said Vicky McDermott, chief executive of the Papworth Trust. “We need to ensure that we’re supporting people into sustainable work.”
Source: Martin Williams, “The Truth behind Rising Disabled Employment: Cuts, Death and Zero-hour Contracts,” Guardian, February 2, 2017, https://www.theguardian.com/careers/2017/feb/23/disability-employment-gap-sanctions-cuts-and-death-after-fit-to-work-tests.
Student Researcher: Saray Montoya-Garcia (Indian River State College)
Faculty Evaluator: Elliot D. Cohen (Indian River State College)