What a way to start a week! To hear someone in a position of some influence come out with such an inflammatory and negative statement.
At Uni we have just spent six months working with disabled people to put together the Disability Employers Guide www.disabilityemployersguide.co.uk which was funded by the Yorkshire and Humber Improvement Partnership and is a resource to help employers recruit and retain disabled people in the workforce. A diverse workforce has many benefits for companies and disabled people add to that diversity.
It was very clear from our work that the issue of employment should not be about cost but about capability to do the job in question. The best person for a job can be someone WITH a disability as having a disability doesn’t automatically exclude you from every job. Very often disabled people have invested personally and financially in ensuring that they have a range of skills on a par with able – bodied people and they are often highly motivated to work.
In our experience the ‘hindrance’ can be with the employer who may not know how to go about finding, recruiting and interviewing disabled people or what to do if things go wrong. This lack of knowledge can cause a lack of confidence where it is easier to recruit an able bodied person than a disabled person.
Employers can be helped to find the best person for the job and there is a lot of support both practical and financial out there. What Mr Davies could have done is raised the positive issue of the support and advice available and not the negative one about cost.
Disabled people still have the same living costs as able bodied people and often have increased travel costs as public transport is still not easy for disabled people to use.