Department for Work and Pensions
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New study charts state of play on disability equality, including the value of work to disabled people
Major new research launched today by Anne McGuire, Minister for Disabled People, provides a unique snapshot of the lives of nearly 2000 disabled people in Great Britain.
Published in the run-up to the release of a Green Paper on Welfare Reform, the report showed that nine out of ten working disabled people believe their job has a positive impact on their life, keeping them active and giving them financial independence. It also confirmed that the number of disabled people in paid employment has increased. However, just over a quarter felt more could have been done to help them stay in work.
Experiences and Expectations of Disabled People reports their views on a range of the issues, including employment, education, transport, health and discrimination. Commissioned by the Office for Disability Issues, the study actively involved disabled people throughout the research process.
Other key findings were:
* A large majority of disabled people reported being generally satisfied with their health care and the level of control in their lives. Most also felt that their home was suitable for their needs
* The majority of disabled people are socially active. Over nine in ten (92%) disabled people had recently taken part in at least one social activity in the previous month before the study was conducted
* The results match other trends showing that the number of disabled people in paid employment has increased. National statistics show that the employment rate of disabled people has increased by five percentage points over this period, from 43% in 2001 to 48% in the latest available data for 2008
* Disabled people in work expressed positive views about how work contributed to their lives. The vast majority felt that work helps to keep them active (96%), provides financial independence (95%), enables them to meet other people (92%) and makes them feel that they are contributing to society (90%)
* In many respects, disabled people are more likely than non-disabled people to experience disadvantage. Compared with the population as a whole, disabled people tend to live in households with lower incomes, are less likely to be in paid work and less likely to hold academic qualifications.
* A minority of disabled people felt they lack the skills to find work. One in ten working-age respondents not in work felt that they did not have the skills to get a job. This was highest amongst younger people - 17% of 16-34 year olds not in work
Minister for Disabled People Anne McGuire said: "This report provides a comprehensive insight into the lives of disabled people and provides the type of information we need to ensure that we target our policies and approaches to help meet the Government's vision of equality for disabled people by 2025.
"Some of the criticisms are really challenging but we need to know more about the areas where we are managing to narrow the disability equality gap and look at where we still have more work to do.
"One of the main messages from the report is around work. As the research shows, disabled people of working age can and want to work, but still face barriers in accessing and staying in jobs. We are determined to make sure we provide the support that disabled people need to make the most of the opportunities that are out there.
"We will shortly be bringing together a green paper on welfare reform that will set out the next steps in making these goals a reality, giving disabled people the opportunity to take their place in the workforce."
Transport Minister, Rosie Winterton said:
"Today's research emphasises again the importance of remaining independent for those with a disability, and the key role that public transport can have in this - especially when providing access to work.
"It is not right that travel should be a barrier to employment. The Government will continue to consult with disabled people and local authorities on measures that are important to them, such as low-floor buses, accessible taxis, accessible stations, Blue Badges and the concessionary bus pass, so that we have a transport system people feel confident using and that reflects the population it serves"
Notes to editors:
* Experiences and Expectations of Disabled People surveyed 1860 disabled people across Britain between July and August 2007. The research was carried out by GFK NOP Social Research, the Office for Public Management, PPRE, the University of Nottingham and the Office for Disability Issues.
* The report was launched by the Minister for Disabled People, Anne McGuire today, 17 July 2008, at a Manchester event marking the 30th anniversary since the Chronically Sick and Disabled Persons Act (1970) came into effect across the UK and Northern Ireland.
* Experiences and Expectations of Disabled People report information can be accessed at: http://www.officefordisability.gov.uk/research/eedp.asp
* The Office for Disability Issues was established in 2005 following recommendations in the Improving the Life Chances of Disabled People report. That report says that by 2025, disabled people should have the same opportunities and choices as non-disabled people and be respected and included as equal members of society. The ODI acts as a champion of disabled people within government, working with other departments to help them better understand and meet the needs and aspirations of disabled people. To find out more, go to http://www.officefordisability.gov.uk.
* Please note that the figures on the employment rate of disabled people are from the Labour Force Survey, not from EEDP.