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Two-thirds of disabled workers affected by coronavirus

  • 28/07/2020

Workers with disabilities have been more adversely affected by the coronavirus pandemic than non-disabled workers, according to survey findings by national poverty charity, Turn2us.

The new survey shows that two thirds of people with disabilities have had their employment affected by the coronavirus:  63% of disabled male workers and 67% of disabled female workers; compared to 43% and 50% of non disabled workers respectively.

As a result, working aged disabled people are much more likely to need to claim Universal Credit to cover the cost of living – one in five compared to one in ten.

Additionally, they are almost three times as likely to believe that they have, or have had coronavirus, compared to non-disabled respondents.

Responding to the findings, a coalition – that includes Turn2us, Z2K and the Disability Benefits Consortium – have come together to call on the government to introduce a number of policies to improve the lives of people with disabilities. They are calling on the government to:

  • Co-produce future policies that affect people with disabilities so they are at the heart of the solution
  • Extend the recent increases of Universal Credit to other benefits, including ESA; maintain this increase and backdate it
  • Remove the Benefit Cap
  • Raise LHA to 50% of market rents
  • Provide funds to close the digital divide
  • End conditionality and sanctions

Ella Abraham, Z2K’s Policy and Campaigns Officer and Campaigns Co-Chair of the DBC, says: “There are many crucial changes the Government must make to ensure disabled people aren’t left behind. Lockdown may be lifting but the financial and physical pressure of the pandemic will be felt by many for a long time.

“We know people have benefited from the £20 a week uplift to Universal Credit, the Government must stop wasting crucial time and extend and backdate the £20 increase to all out of work benefits to ensure everyone is safe.”

Sara Willcocks, Head of Communications at Turn2us, says: “People with disabilities have been disproportionately affected financially by the coronavirus pandemic. This means that millions are now at greater risk of getting into debt, going hungry and facing homelessness. While we may all be in the same storm, we are definitely not all in the same boat.

“The government cannot use a one size-fits all approach to the next stages of recovery. The DWP must work with people who have lived experience of disabilities to develop and implement effective solutions to the economic, social and political barriers that stop many people with disabilities from thriving; especially in the wake of the pandemic.”