- the overall impact of seven years of cuts to social security payments
- gaps in legal protection and barriers to accessing justice
- the continued use of physical and chemical restraint
- bullying of disabled children in schools
- the need for further action to tackle disability hate crime and harassment
- the levels of legal protection for disabled people in Northern Ireland, which is lower than in the rest of the UK
Facts from the submission
- In the UK 49 per cent of disabled people aged 16-64 were in employment in January-March 2017 compared with 80 per cent of non-disabled people
- Disabled people in the UK are paid less on average than non-disabled people. In GB in 2016 the disability pay gap stood at 13.6 per cent.
- The size of the pay gap varies depending on the exact nature of the disability. The pay gaps for those with neurological disorders, mental health conditions, learning difficulties or disabilities tend to be large.
The submission highlighted that since February 2017:
- The UK Parliament Work and Pensions Committee released a report that welcomed the UK Government’s commitment to halve the disability employment gap and some efforts to achieve it. However, it commented that the UK Government would struggle to achieve its target if it could not bring employers on board and enhance in-work support, and recommended publication of a Disability Employment Strategy.
- In Northern Ireland, the draft delivery plan for Indicator 42 of the Programme for Government, ‘Average life satisfaction score of persons with disabilities’, commits to implementation of the Employment Strategy for disabled people to create a pathway that will help more young adults move into work. The plan also includes a commitment to ‘ensure that disabled people who are economically inactive are, where possible, helped back into the labour market’.
Response to disabled People’s rights
Speaking on behalf of the independent monitoring mechanism set up to monitor disabled people’s rights in the UK, Chair of the Equality and Human Rights Commission David Isaac said:
“There is a real concern that disabled people are being increasingly marginalised and shut out of society as they bear the brunt of the accumulated impact of cuts in public spending.
“Disabled people have won hard fought battles in recent decades to ensure that they can live independently to exercise choice and control over their support. Evidence of regression must be confronted and urgently addressed.
“As the UK and devolved governments’ track record on disability rights comes under the international microscope, we call for concerted action to remove the barriers in society that prevent disabled people living full lives on equal terms with non-disabled people. Everyone is entitled to the same opportunities and respect – the governments must start taking the human rights of disabled people more seriously.”