Achieving income equality between disabled and non-disabled people looks to be as far away as ever, as a new study shows that full-time disabled workers earned 13% less than those without a disability in 2015 – a £75 a week wage gap.
Disabled people working part-time also appear to be unfairly remunerated by employers, taking home an average £30 a week less (14%) than non-disabled people.
A new study from the TUC also reveals how the government is at risk of missing its own target to halve the disability employment gap – the gap between the number of disabled and non-disabled people in work – by 2020.
The commitment made by Tory ministers means the government would need to ensure that 63% of disabled people are in paid employment by 2020.
But TUC analysis suggests the government may be “years behind schedule” and set to miss their target by 11 percentage points, with just 52% of disabled people predicted to be in work by 2020.
The TUC called on the government to utilise and promote employment schemes to support more disabled people into work.
They also say a £30 a week cut to Employment and Support Allowance, affecting thousands of sick and disabled people who have been assessed by the Department of Work and Pensions as ‘unfit for work’, should be dropped.
Disabled people should also be given access to specialist employment advice, say the TUC. And the government should work with unions and employers to tackle the ‘stigma’ faced by disabled people both in and out of work.
TUC general secretary, Frances O’Grady, said: “The government is years behind schedule in achieving its employment target for disabled people.
“While ministers are right to prioritise getting more disabled people into work, they are going about things the wrong way.
She added: “Cutting vital benefits and employment programmes will succeed only in locking disabled people out of the workplace.
“Unless we do more to break down the barriers disabled people face, applying for jobs and staying in work then progress will remain painfully slow.”