We asked the Department for Work & Pensions for their views on ‘Disability in the UK’ – here are, exclusive to ‘Disability Talk, their answers.

The Minister (Sarah Newton – Minister for Disabled People) is passionate about exploring ways to ensure that all disabled people can live independent lives and enjoy full and equal participation in a modern, inclusive society. Sadly, however, many of them of them must overcome obstacles to this every single day and so she believes it is incumbent upon us all, as members of a civilised and compassionate country, to work together to ensure that they can realise their full potential just like anybody else.

Sarah Newton – Minister for Disabled People

The Government’s vision for disabled people, whatever their age or background, was set out in the cross-government disability strategy: ‘Fulfilling Potential’, which aims to remove the barriers that disabled people face to enable them to fulfil their potential and have equal opportunities to play a full and active role in society. Ministers developed their approach with very extensive engagement with disabled people so that it reflects what they have said is important to bring about the changes that will have a real and lasting impact on their day-to-day lives.

Esther McVey – Secretary of State for the Department for Work & Pensions

That means, for example, changing attitudes towards disabled people and creating more inclusive and accessible communities. It means continuing to work in partnership with disabled people and their organisations, business, the voluntary sector and others to break down the barriers faced by disabled people. It means supporting disabled people to take full advantage of employment opportunities wherever possible to halve the disability employment gap.

For instance: Disability Confident was launched by the then Prime Minister in July 2013. Disability Confident supports this Government’s commitment to halve the employment gap between disabled and non-disabled people by focusing on the role of employers, who have a crucial role to play in ensuring disabled people are recruited, retained and developed in their careers.

Disability Confident is about creating a movement for change – getting employers to think differently about disability and to take action to improve how they attract, recruit and retain disabled workers.

This involves business talking to business, with Disability Confident employers sharing their evidence and experiences with other employers. So far, over 1,000 Businesses have signed up to the new Disability Confident scheme, with the number growing rapidly.

The Government’s vision also includes making sure all people, whatever their impairment, have the opportunity to access services and live as fully engaged members of a modern society in every aspect of day to day life.

The hope is to take forward actions which will make a real difference to the lives of disabled people. Information about the Disability Strategy can be found here

The Government has set out clear principles and clear direction and continues to work with disabled people and a wide range of disability organisations to further develop and deliver its strategy. Together, the Minister believes that we can all successfully challenge public attitudes towards disabled people and help them to overcome the barriers that prevent them from enjoying the realisation of their full potential.

Department For Work & Pensions