More than 29,000 disabled benefit claimants have been supported to start their own business through government funding, new figures show.
It represents almost a quarter of all total start-ups funded by the New Enterprise Allowance, which was launched 8 years ago to help unemployed people become their own boss as a way out of claiming benefits.
The New Enterprise Allowance offers budding entrepreneurs a cash injection of up to £25,000 for their business idea, as well as the support of a personal business mentor and weekly living allowance.
The figures come as the secretary of state has confirmed a series of changes to the scheme to help businesses achieve their goal of workplace inclusivity, including a new requirement for leading Disability Confident employers to practice what they preach and ensure disabled people are on their payroll.
Work and pensions secretary, Thérèse Coffey, said: “I want to ensure we live in a fair society in which disabled people are empowered to get on in their chosen career. These figures show the huge progress being made under this government to help them realise their aspirations.”
Adding: “While we have made great gains so far, today I am calling on all businesses to take a look at their record on disability employment and think about what they can do to help create a more equal Britain.”
Thousands of businesses – including major employers such as Sainsbury’s and GlaxoSmithKline – have already signed up to the scheme.