New figures obtained by a disabled people’s organisation – after ministers refused to commission the work themselves – appear to show how the government relies on the growth in self-employment and part-time jobs to exaggerate its success in increasing disability employment.
Ministers such as work and pensions secretary Esther McVey have repeatedly boasted of how their policies have led to hundreds of thousands more disabled people in work over the last five years.
But those claims have been based on figures provided by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), which includes in its measure of “employment” people who are in part-time work, are self-employed, or are on government training and jobs programmes.
Ministers in the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) refused to commission work from ONS – which it told Disability News Service would cost just £125 (plus VAT) – that would show the full, detailed figures.
Now London’s pan-disability disabled people’s organisation Inclusion London has commissioned the work itself from ONS, at the same price of £125 plus VAT.
The new ONS figures* obtained by Inclusion London show that nearly half of the increase in disability employment in the last four years has been due to disabled people becoming self-employed or taking part-time jobs.
Between 2013-14 and 2017-18, the number of full-time disabled employees rose by about 383,000, while the number of disabled people in part-time jobs, self-employment, government training programmes and employed as unpaid family workers increased by about 366,000.
During this period, the number of disabled people in self-employment increased by more than 22 per cent, when the number of non-disabled people who were self-employed rose by just nine per cent.