Disabled people in the UK have fallen into a financial crisis by increasing unemployment due to Covid-19, according to a survey by disability charity Leonard Cheshire.
Some 71% of disabled people, who were working in March, have been impacted by loss of income, furlough or unemployment following the pandemic.
In the survey of 1,171 working age disabled adults and 502 UK line managers, 42% of employers said they were “discouraged” from hiring disabled job applicants due to concerns around supporting them properly during the pandemic.
Sophia Kleanthous, alumni of Leonard Cheshire’s Change 100 programme in London, said: “In the past I’ve been told I didn’t get a job I applied for because they were concerned my health would ‘get in the way’, that they needed someone who could be relied upon (referring to my disability) and that I’d be a burden to the company. This has to change.”
Gemma Hope, head of Policy at Leonard Cheshire, said: “Our findings are stark. But we should see them not as gloomy forecasts for policymakers but as motivators for immediate, wide-ranging action.
“We must stress that prompt, decisive action can stop the trends we have identified from becoming more serious. Still, we cannot understate the urgency of the challenge.”
She added: “Our study suggests that inclusive practices at employers have been put at risk by fears relating to COVID-19 as the economic outlook darkens.
“We urge the government to take on the recommendations we make in the Plan For Jobs, and work with businesses to make our recovery from this downturn an inclusive one.”