Papworth Trust has questioned whether the Government has now abandoned its ambitious disability employment target.

Leading disability charity Papworth Trust has questioned whether the Government has now abandoned its ambitious disability employment target.

The Conservative Government said they wanted to halve the so-called “disability employment gap” by 2020 – the difference between the number of people in work with disabilities and the number of people without them.

But reacting to today’s party conference speech from the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Papworth Trust chief executive Vicky McDermott urged Damian Green to be bold and reiterate the Government’s promise.

Ms McDermott said: "We welcome much of the what the Secretary of State said this afternoon. He has recognised the bureaucratic nonsense of reassessments for chronically ill disabled people and it is right that the government has changed its position on them. This will be a huge relief for millions of disabled people in our country.

"It is also a welcome sign to hear full recognition for the difficulties that disabled people often face in trying to enter employment. Changing attitudes and perceptions is just as important as changes to statute.

"However, it is concerning that Damian Green chose not to recommit the Government to halving the disability employment gap by 2020.

"Setting ambitious targets for including more disabled people in employment was welcome and it is important that Theresa May's Government is as committed to these aspirations for disabled people as her predecessor was.

"If post-Brexit Britain is to lead to increased employment opportunities for British workers, it is vital that these opportunities are equally open to Britain's 2.6 million unemployed disabled people. The plan after the General Election was always to get 1.3 million more disabled people into work by the end of this parliament.

“If this is no longer the case, the Government must end the uncertainty and be clear about it.

“In recent months the department has gone quiet on this promise. Now is not the time to retreat, it is the time to be bold.

“My hope is that the Secretary of State sets the record straight and quickly recommits the Government to this ambitious target.”