Scottish Government announces funding to close the disability employment gap

Yesterday (11 December) the Scottish Government announced an additional £6 million to reduce the disability employment gap and child poverty in Scotland.

The plan to reduce the employment gap also includes:

  • £1 million to enhance solutions for the barriers disabled people face during the hiring process, and to ensure employment is sustainable and long-term.
  • Up to £500,000 to trial a support system similar to the Access to Work scheme, so that disabled people can gain work experience at potential places of employment.
  • A brand new support programme to help disabled people, for who mainstream support is not suitable.
  • Developing and improving targets for the employment of disabled people within the Scottish Government, to advance and enhance their own workforce.
  • The creation of a business leader position to give advice to ministers on how they can reduce the stigma around employing disabled people.


New research from the Scottish Government shows that 40 per cent of working age disabled adults are in employment, compared with 80 per cent of non-disabled working age adults.

The plan hopes to half the employment gap over the next 20 years; aiming to increase the disabled workforce to 50 per cent by 2023, and 60 per cent by 2030.

Similarly, it also hopes to tackle child poverty. With only 40 per cent of working age disabled adults in employment, this makes children of disabled parents more likely to be living in poverty, or in low income families.


The government research doesn’t specify whether the 40 per cent of disabled adults in employment means they are in full-time, part-time, freelance or unstable employment, which means the number living in poverty or on low income could be greater than estimated.

Scottish Government’s action plan is a welcomed step in the direction of inclusion and equality in the workplace, to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to pursue their career goals.

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