Small businesses call for fairness in disability employment

The Lancashire headquartered Federation of Small Businesses is urging the government to fix “utter injustice” of poor disability employment.

By Tim Gavell
Saturday, 9th April 2022, 4:55 am
Martin McTague FSB National Chairman
Martin McTague FSB National Chairman

The organisation has come up with a ten point plan to make things fairer for disabled entrepreneurs and employees, as well as a new report – Business Without Barriers which found that more than half (51 per cent) of small employers have employed someone they know to have a disability or health condition in the past three years.

The report also found that only one in twenty (5 per cent) of small businesses had used the Government’s Access to Work scheme.

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Just eight per cent of disabled business owners had accessed local authority business support services – half that of their non-disabled counterparts.

A quarter of small business owners across the UK were managing a disability or health condition on a daily basis, and close to one in four (24 per cent) of these business owners reported suffering discrimination or negative treatment.

FSB National Chair Martin McTague said: “It is an utter injustice that so many disabled people are denied the opportunities that employment and entrepreneurship bring.

“This can and should be fixed by Government and enterprise working together. Too often we have seen small moves and siloed approaches in this area – we all need to show the ambition necessary to overcome the scale of the barriers disabled people face in our economy.

“At a time when we need more people to set up a small business and drive the economy, more than half of disabled entrepreneurs say they have experienced a barrier due to their disability or health condition.”

Among its ten points the FSB suggests bring in a new a new disability Kickstart Scheme; increasing availability of Occupational Health support; speeding up NHS treatment for a range of issues by stricter waiting time targets; and allowing all disabled employees to ‘passport’ their portable Access to Work support to a new employer if they secure a new job.