UK business has a golden opportunity to access the £212bn annual disability market through the Government’s Disability Confident scheme, according to disability equality champion Mike Adams OBE.
The Chief Executive of not-for-profit organisation Purple says the Government’s re-launch of its Disability Confident scheme is providing businesses with the opportunity to relook at disability differently and help them access the disability market, or ‘Purple Pound’, which is worth £212bn a year to the UK.
The Disability Confident scheme aims to support the government’s overall strategy to reduce the disability employment gap. It has been running since 2013 and was re-launched by the minister for disabled people Penny Mordaunt MP last November.
However, ahead of the re-launch Purple carried out research revealing almost a third of businesses (29 per cent) are uncertain about how to become involved in the scheme while a further 30 per cent have not yet heard of it.
While the scheme has had some success before now with several hundred companies across the UK signing up to the initiative, Purple believes businesses require more practical advice and guidance to transform their workplaces. To support businesses achieve Disability Confident accreditation, and the commercial benefits of doing so, Purple has recently launched a bespoke offer into the marketplace.
Chief Executive of Purple, Mike Adams, said:
“It’s unacceptable that in 2016, being disabled makes you twice as likely to live in poverty.”
Just 49 per cent of the UK’s 11.5m disabled people are currently in work, compared to 82 per cent of non-disabled people. This has a real impact on the quality of life of disabled people, as well as on the British economy.
“Business is finally starting to realise the benefits of having a diverse workforce with the ‘Purple Pound’ in the UK worth £212bn a year. The re-launch of Disability Confident is a golden opportunity for business to become Purple and access this lucrative market through inclusive employment strategies.”
Purple’s research previously found almost half of UK businesses (45 per cent) are apprehensive about hiring someone with a disability because of fears they won’t be able to do the job. It is now working with business to combat these misconceptions and develop inclusive employment strategies.
Purple also simultaneously works with disabled people offering employment support, as well as a specialist recruitment portal matching skilled disabled workers with employers. The organisation aims to help more than 20,000 disabled people to find permanent jobs over the next decade.
For more information on Purple and the research findings, or to download its Disability Confident brochure for business, go to www.wearepurple.org.uk
*The survey of 1000 businesses was undertaken by 3Gem on behalf of Purple in June 2016.
- The Disability Confident campaign offers employers tips on how to attract, retain and recruit disabled people, and highlights the business benefits of an inclusive workplace.
- So far, hundreds of companies across the UK have signed up to the cause and attitudes are changing.
- In the last two years, the number of disabled people in work has increased by 365,000, and in the last year by 121,000. This brings the total number of disabled people in work to over 3.3m.
- Spending on Access to Work is being increased, which helps to meet the extra costs disabled people face if they work.
- A new Work and Health employment programme is being introduced, which will support those with disability and health issues and the very long term unemployed. By 2021, the core funding from central government for this programme will be around £130m a year.