With a General Election just around the corner and Brexit still undecided, we are living in uncertain and uncharted times. There are many stories clambering for space in an overly busy news agenda. There is also the risk that important issues such as disability inclusion, will be used as political footballs; kicked around and quickly forgotten once a new government is in power.
It is for this reason that Business Disability Forum has decided to mark international day of persons with disability with the launch of our own manifesto. The document calls on all political parties to better support businesses to deliver on disability inclusion.
Our Member and Partner organisations are committed to delivering more inclusive workplaces and customer experiences. But their work needs to be supported by informed, joined up Government policy, which enhances, not inhibits the lives of disabled people.
Yesterday, we saw the publication of ONS statistics which highlighted the pay gap experienced by disabled people. Pay inequality is a complex issue which cannot be explained through statistics alone. How much a person is paid is closely linked to how society perceives a person’s value and the contribution they make.
We want to ensure that the next Government works with businesses to address not only the pay gap issue, but all other barriers that disabled people experience is accessing employment and society more widely.
Based on the experiences of Members and Partners and the disabled people who work for them, we are therefore calling on the future Government to take the following seven actions:
- To introduce targeted opportunities, including paid apprenticeships, for people with learning disabilities; recognising the challenges presented by a flattening of job infrastructure.
- To carry out a robust equality analysis of environmental and human rights policies.
- To seek the development of a new cross-Government approach to disability; bringing whole-Government consideration to all policy development.
- To prevent any further watering down of the Equality Act and increasing the enforcement powers and authority of the EHRC, or a similar body. Rights must be enforced, not just protected.
- To reform Access to Work and to remove the £59,200 cap.
- To ensure all education and learning opportunities are inclusive and accessible.
- To introduce a wholesale shift from mandatory ‘one size fits all businesses’ government-led initiatives to an outcome focus approach.
We will monitor progress on these issues and will hold the future Government to account through our consultation responses and policy work.