Politics

Just 1 in 7 disabled people feel safe going back to the workplace


Just one in seven disabled people feel safe going back to the workplace, a damning survey claims.

Scope today warns Boris Johnson to “stop forgetting” his promises to disabled people as the PM forges on with his ‘back to work’ drive.

Mr Johnson has encouraged people to go back to workplaces to support inner-city businesses like shops.

But a YouGov survey of 874 disabled adults for the charity found only 14% felt safe about going back to the workplace, while 87% fear people in their workplace will not respect social distancing.

The same survey found 34% felt under pressure to go back, and a quarter are concerned about losing their job if they do not return.

Scope today warns Boris Johnson to “stop forgetting” his promises to disabled people

In an open letter to the PM signed by 30,000 disability campaigners, Scope chief executive Mark Hodgkinson said: “Earlier this year, you wrote to all government departments instructing them to find ways to address inequalities and make the greatest contribution to the lives of disabled people.

“It is vital now that government delivers on this ambition.”

Mr Hodgkinson said: “Nobody should be forced to choose between protecting their health and paying the bills and putting food on the table.

“The government cannot let disabled people bear the brunt of this economic crisis.”

Government officials said it was up to firms to consult with workers on arrangements for working safety.

The law grants employees a legal right to request flexible working – but the request doesn’t always have to be accepted.

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A government spokeswoman said: “We understand this has been a very challenging time for many disabled people and we remain committed to supporting them, their families and their carers on safely returning to work.

“Huge efforts have been undertaken by employers to make workplaces COVID-secure and we want to see employers and employees discussing their working arrangement to ensure individual needs are taken into account.

 “We are publishing advice and guidance for disabled people, making £3.7 billion available to local authorities to help address pressures on local services including adult social care, and pledging £750 million to ensure charities can continue their vital work.

“The Government is also committed to ensuring that disabled people have a say in determining our forthcoming national strategy, and are working with them and disability organisations as part of its development.”





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