Business Disability Forum has responded to the Government’s Green Paper on health and disability.
The Health and Disability Green Paper explores how the welfare system can better meet the needs of disabled people and people with health conditions now and in the future, enabling people to live independently and move into work where possible.
Angela Matthews, Head of Policy at Business Disability Forum, (pictured) said: “Business Disability Forum welcomes the publication of the Health and Disability Green Paper. The Green Paper recognises the important role that welfare plays in not only supporting people who are looking for work but also in helping people to remain in and progress once in employment. Joining up welfare and employment is vital in closing the disability employment gap, by recognising that disabled people do work and making it financially possible for disabled people to do so.
“Too often, disabled people have been presented with an unrealistic ‘either or’ option by the welfare system, which assumes that people are either out of work and claiming benefits or in work and able to cover all their costs through their earnings. In reality, many disabled people in employment need to rely on welfare in some way. This may be because their condition only makes it possible for them to work part-time, or because they need to meet the additional costs incurred through having a disability.
“We welcome the Green Paper’s acknowledgement of the need to address additional costs and the financial discrimination experienced by disability people through the very nature of having a disability. It is unacceptable that disabled people have to spend more to live equal lives.
“We support plans to review the Disability Confident scheme and its effectiveness in advancing disability inclusion within organisations. At present, the responsibility for becoming Disability Confident often falls on a few individual roles within an organisation. We need the scheme require a whole organisational approach to disability inclusion. Guidance also needs to be issued to make the validation process less onerous for non-profit organisations with limited internal capacity. Business Disability Forum is carrying out its own review of Disability Confident, which we will be sharing with the Government.
“We will be consulting with our member organisations in coming months to ensure that all proposals announced in the Green Paper, reflect the realities experienced by disabled employees and those with long term health conditions, and to continue to challenge and change the narrative around disability employment. We urge the Government to do the same and to ensure that disabled people are properly consulted with throughout the progression of this green paper.”