Exchequer would gain £12bn by 2030 if disability employment rate is increased by 10 per cent, says new research

27 April 2015

The disability charity Scope have released a new report examining the possible economic impacts of a future labour force that is more inclusive of disabled people.

Drawing on figures from The Family Resources Survey 2011-12 the report suggests that disability employment rates are currently around 57 per cent. Although other data sources suggest that this could be closer to 47.4 per cent.

Scope and Landman Economics have modelled how an increase in the disability employment rate by 5 and 10 per cent would impact on GDP, The Exchequer and poverty levels by 2030.

The findings suggest that an increased employment rate of 10 per cent could boost GDP by £45bn, a rise equivalent to 1.7 per cent of total predicted GDP in 2030. The report projects that relative poverty levels would also drop by 5 per cent if efforts were made to address barriers to work and increase employment support for disabled people.

It states that: ‘Failure to address the barriers to work that disabled people face is a failure to recognise the contribution that disabled people make and could make to Britain’s economy and society. Many disabled people are already in work. But many more could enter and stay in work with the right support.’

The report warns that if the disability employment rate and benefit system stays the same, the relative poverty of disabled adults below the pension age could increase from 19 per cent to 30 per cent.

A key recommendation put forward by the report states that ‘disabled people must be considered in employment and economic growth strategies – they have the same talents and aspirations as everybody else, present enormous untapped potential – but face systematic barriers which require intervention in order to be overcome.’

According to the report, the key areas that should be addressed to increase disability employment rates are:

• Employer attitudes

• Improving job retention – government interventions

• Personalised employment support

• Disability, localism and growth

For further research about the links between disability and poverty, click here.