PM vows to get 1m more disabled people in work

Nearly seven million disabled people are working age

By Jason Farrell, Senior Political Correspondent

The Prime Minister has announced plans to get a million more disabled people into work over the next decade.

The move will be seen as an attempt to improve the Government's image after previous accusations the Conservatives are waging war on disabled people.

Theresa May is promising to widen "fit note" certification and provide dedicated training for work coaches to support people with mental health conditions.

The UK has 32 million people in work, and the Government says 600,000 more disabled people have gained employment in the last four years alone.

However, overall there are 13 million disabled people in the UK, of which nearly seven million are working age and many are unemployed, often living in poverty.

The Prime Minister said: "The path a person takes in life and in work should not be dictated by their disability or health condition.

"Everyone deserves the chance to find a job that's right for them.

"I am committed to tackling the injustices facing disabled people who want to work, so that everyone can go as far as their talents will take them.

"We recognise the hugely positive impact that working can have on people's health and wellbeing, which is why we are determined to break down the barriers to employment facing disabled people."

David Gauke
Work and Pensions Secretary David Gauke hailed an 'ambitious' strategy

The Government has recently been criticised by the United Nations for failing to uphold the rights of disabled people.

And, earlier this month, the Department for Work and Pensions announced new guidelines for Personal Independent Payment (PIP) after a court found some disabled people were not being offered enough support to meet their needs.

Charities claim disabled people have also been worse affected by austerity policies and the so-called "bedroom tax".

Critics have also attacked Conservatives in the past for policies that favour those able to work to the disadvantage of those who can't.

Under this new drive, the Government is launching research schemes in the West Midlands and Sheffield which will include more than 11,000 people.

This will gather evidence to help improve services for those with health conditions, supporting them get into and stay in work.

Some £39m is also being invested to double the number of employment advisers in an existing NHS programme treating people with depression and anxiety disorders.

Work and Pensions Secretary David Gauke said: "Today, we've set out an ambitious 10-year strategy to end this injustice once and for all.

"By bringing employers, the welfare system and health services together we're taking significant steps to ensure everyone can reach their potential."

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