Chancellor 'suggests' disabled staff have 'lower productivity'

Chancellor 'suggests' disabled staff have 'lower productivity'

The Chancellor Philip Hammond has been accused of scapegoating disabled workers in efforts to cover up the government’s economic policy failings – BuzzFeed report.

The comments in question came as he gave evidence to the Commons Treasury select committee on the 2017 Budget.

He said: “It is almost certainly the case that by increasing participation in the workforce, including far higher levels of participation by marginal groups, very high levels of engagement in the workforce, for example of disabled people – something we should be extremely proud of – we may have had an impact on overall productivity measurements.”

Anna Bird, Director of Policy and Research at disability charity Scope, described the comments as "totally unacceptable and derogatory".

She continued: “They fundamentally undermine the government’s policy to get more disabled people into work, and the ambition set out by the Prime Minister just a week ago. The Chancellor must urgently withdraw them and offer a full apology."

Labour’s Shadow Minister for Disabilities Marsha de Cordova told BuzzFeed News she was shocked and appalled by the comments: "There’s absolutely no evidence to support his claim. From 1998 to 2007 productivity grew alongside an increase in the proportion of the workforce who were disabled. Since then productivity has stalled and the disability employment gap has been stuck at just over 30%."

There are currently 7.2 million working age disabled people in the UK, according to official statistics.

A Treasury spokesperson added: “The Chancellor was very clear that he is extremely proud of our record helping over 600,000 disabled people into employment.”

HR Grapevine has previously reported on how firms can help more disabled people into work. Read more about that here. 

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Comments (3)

  • Trev
    Wed, 13 Dec 2017 5:56pm GMT
    Why in this century do people still show their ignorance about people with disabilities ?

  • Lynne
    Tue, 12 Dec 2017 1:34pm GMT
    What an idiot. I am High Functioning Autistic and get FAR more done in a day than most of my colleagues. And I am classed as having a disability. Far too much generalisation.
  • Boris
    Tue, 12 Dec 2017 12:59pm GMT
    As a disabled worker I'd like to show him that not only is my productivity above many of my able bodied co-workers, but given how hard it is to get a job as a disabled person is it any wonder our economy has been sent down the river!
    This magazine has shown repeatedly how hard it is for those of us with a disability to get into meaningful employment, couple that with the changes that the Conservative government pushed through for disability benefits, and it's clear that this government has no love for those of us with disabilities and doesn't plan to change that view any time soon!
    As per usual, anyone who doesn't fit in to their idea of the perfect Briton is rejected and blamed for everything. Have they managed to re-home the families displaced by the tower block fire? Is the economy doing well? Have those of us in public services been given a pay rise in the last 7 years? I rest my case.

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