Eastbourne MP says “we need to step up” when it comes to employing disabled people

The MP for Eastbourne has spoken about the National Disability Strategy which was unveiled last month.

Saturday, 14th August 2021, 1:10 pm
Updated Saturday, 14th August 2021, 1:13 pm

Caroline Ansell said the strategy was put together with input from more than 14,000 disabled people, as well as disability organisations, businesses, policy experts and many others.

She said it sets out the government’s vision to improve the everyday lives of disabled people so that disability is not a barrier to people living full, independent lives and they can reach their full potential.

Mrs Ansell said, “It shows we need to step up. Only around 52 per cent of disabled people are in work. The strategy found that just eight per cent of disabled people, eight per cent of carers and 12 per cent of the general public ‘agree’ or ‘strongly agree’ that the views held by members of the public about disability are generally helpful for disabled people.

Caroline Ansell

“Here in Eastbourne some of the challenges were spelt out to me during a recent online roundtable discussion with local groups and the disability minister Justin Tomlinson.”

She said Eastbourne has “practical challenges to improve services for disabled people” when it comes to accessing major attractions like the beach and downland.

Mrs Ansell said, “If we are to see better opportunities for all and a fairer society then this very poor 52 per cent figure needs to rise dramatically. The employment rate for people who are not disabled is 81 per cent.

“I know that disabled people, those with mental health problems, those with learning disabilities, want to work, but the employers are not often there to take them on despite government support being available.

“In addition to this national strategy, we need a joint response here in Eastbourne with disability groups, the chamber of commerce, the job centre and charities to get a plan in place to raise awareness of the support the Government has available for employers and the need for better access.”