Disabled people’s contribution to the economy

Sun,14 December 2014

Can we work it out? Experts debate disabled people’s contribution to the economy

Press release – for immediate use

Disability Rights UK and the Joseph Rowntree Foundation are hosting a seminar to explore how economic policies can be developed which support disabled people into employment.

As all major political parties explore developments in economics such as 'inclusive capitalism' and pre-distribution, this ‘Affordable: an economy that includes disabled people’ seminar seeks to explore whether, and how, disabled people could benefit from such ideas.

Panel members include Professor Jacob Hacker from Yale University, as well as economic experts from the UK.

Philip Connolly, from Disability Rights UK, said:

“The seminar is very timely: a new round of austerity measures is being proposed by the current Government and up to one in every five pounds of public spending may be set to be cut.

“Disabled people have been at the mercy of cuts up to now, with more to come; but are also much less likely to be in paid employment than non-disabled people.  Whilst not all disabled people can work, those who do gain employment are less likely to be living in poverty.”

Current figures show:

  • There are 3.6 million economically inactive disabled people of working age in the UK (DWP, Disability employment and wellbeing strategy 2013);
  • More than half a million disabled people would like to work more (ONS, Life Opportunities Survey 2010);
  • More than 91% of disabled people are in work or have worked in the past (Scope, A million futures 2014);
  • Only one specialist advisor is allocated to every 600 jobseekers on Employment Support Allowance, compared to one advisor to every 140 Job Seekers Allowance claimants (DWP Select Committee, the role of JobCentre Plus in the reformed welfare system, 2014).

The seminar will also explore how disabled people currently contribute to the economy, and how it can be sustained and extended in the future.


For further information, contact Philip Connolly at Disability Rights UK on 020 7250 8192 or Philip.connolly@disabilityrightsuk.org

Notes to editors:

  • Speakers include Professor Mark Priestly of Leeds University; Dr Aaron Reeves of Oxford University; and Professor Victoria Chick of University College, London.
  • The seminar is from 10am – 4pm on Monday 15 December at Joseph Roundtree London Offices, 5th Floor, Camelford House, 89 Albert Embankment, London, SE1 7TP. Journalists are welcome to attend – contact Philip Connolly for details.