During a Treasury Select Committee yesterday, the Chancellor, Philip Hammond, responded to a question about a 0.1% fall in UK productivity earlier this year; saying:
“It is almost certainly the case that by increasing participation in the workforce, including far higher levels of participation by marginal groups and very high levels of engagement in the workforce, for example of disabled people - something we should be extremely proud of - may have had an impact on overall productivity measurements.”
These comments have caused outrage across the disability sector.
Ismail Kaji who has a learning disability and works in learning disability charity, Mencap’s Parliamentary team.
“Philip Hammond's words are very discriminatory to disabled people. For him to suggest any minority group is hurting the economy The economy is to do with how much money a country is making. A good economy is when the country has enough money. A bad economy is when the country doesn't have enough money. is not acceptable for someone in his position.
“To make claims about 12 million people in the UK and not show evidence is unacceptable. As someone with a learning disability A learning disability is to do with the way someone's brain works. It makes it harder for someone to learn, understand or do things. , I know how hard it is to get a job. I went to over 50 interviews before landing my role and a big reason for that was employers thinking I would not be a good employee. The employment Employment means having a job. rate for people with a learning disability is just 5.8% and getting lower. For Philip Hammond to say something like this with no evidence is only going to make this worse.
“Helping people with a disability into employment will not only be good for the economy but for the future of our country. The Government The Government are the people who run the country. The Government decide how much tax people should pay and how things like the National Health Service (NHS) should work. should be pushing Access To Work, not spreading negative views of disabled workers that we know not to be true. If the Government is going to stay true to their commitment to get more disabled people into employment, then this is not the way to do it.”
For further information or to arrange interviews, please contact the Mencap press office on 020 7696 5414 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Notes to editors
There are 1.5 million people with a learning disability in the UK. Mencap works to support people with a learning disability, their families and carers by fighting to change laws, improve services and access to education Education is when you learn things. When you fill in a form to get a job, education means you write where you went to school, college or university. , employment and leisure Leisure is when you have time to do things you enjoy like playing sports or going to the pub. facilities. Mencap supports thousands of people with a learning disability to live their lives the way they want.
For advice and information about learning disability and Mencap services in your area, contact Mencap Direct on 0808 808 1111 (9am-5pm, Monday-Friday) or email email@example.com.
What is a learning disability?
A learning disability is a reduced intellectual ability which can cause problems with everyday tasks – for example shopping and cooking, or travelling to new places – which affects someone for their whole life.
People with a learning disability can take longer to learn new things and may need support to develop new skills, understand difficult information and engage with other people. The level of support someone needs is different with every individual. For example, someone with a severe learning disability might need much more support with daily tasks than someone with a mild learning disability.
Learning disability is not a mental illness or a learning difficulty. Very often the term ‘learning difficulty’ is wrongly used interchangeably with ‘learning disability’.