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Businesses told: “Don’t be put off employing the disabled”

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EMPLOYERS in Warrington should not be put off employing disabled people, according to the borough council’s equality chief.
Cllr Hitesh Patel, the council’s lead member with responsibility for equality, has criticised chancellor Philip Hammond for comments he made at a treasury select committee which suggested employing disabled people could cause a reduction in the country’s business productivity.
Mr Hammond said: “It is almost certainly the case that increasing participation in the workforce, including far higher levels of participation by marginal groups and very high levels of engagement in the workforce, for example of disabled people – something we should be extremely proud of – may have had an impact on overall productivity measurements.”
Cllr Patel said: “The chancellor needs to apologise for those comments because disabled people already face significant discrimination when trying to progress in the job market even though their disability can often be easily mitigated and they can contribute as much as anyone else.
“Nearly 80 per cent of non-disabled adults of working age are in employment, but that figure drops to just 47.6 per cent for disabled people and that just isn’t fair.
“I urge local businesses to not be put off by the Chancellor and instead look at research undertaken by national charity Scope which was based on the Government’s own data and shows that the rate of productivity in the UK has been unaffected by an increase of the proportion of disabled people in work. Between 1998 and 2007 productivity increased by 22 percent, while the proportion of the workforce who are disabled increased from 7.6 percent to 10.4 percent.
“There is lots of support available for businesses employing disabled people, for example Access to Work grants.”

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