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New inquiry: Work and Pensions Committee to examine progress made in supporting disability employment

1 March 2024

A new inquiry from the Work and Pensions Committee will investigate how disabled people can be better supported to start and stay in work and the effectiveness of the Government’s recent efforts to narrow the disability employment gap.

The inquiry will examine the progress being made in reducing the difference between the proportion of disabled and non-disabled people in employment since the Committee’s 2021 report, which warned that DWP’s national programme for supporting disabled people in work was not working. Further Committee reports have also voiced concern about Work Capability Assessments and made other recommendations on improving support for disabled workers.

Despite the Government announcing a series of proposals and programmes since 2021 aimed at boosting disability employment rates, the disability employment gap in 2023 remained unchanged on the previous year at 28.9 percentage points.

Chair's comment

Rt Hon Sir Stephen Timms MP, Chair of the Work and Pensions Committee, said:

“Our previous inquiry concluded that the Government’s approach to helping disabled people in the labour market was just not working and a renewed effort was desperately needed to break down the unacceptable barriers that they face.

“Despite a raft of new programmes and policy announcements since, the disability employment gap remains stubbornly high. Our new inquiry will dig into the progress being made and look at what the priority areas should be for both the Government and employers to help more disabled people find and stay in work.”

Terms of reference

The terms of reference for this inquiry are also available in British Sign Language, audio and EasyRead formats.

The Committee is inviting written submissions in response to the following questions:

  • What progress has been made, especially since our 2021 report on the disability employment gap, on supporting disability employment?
    • How has this progress been achieved?
    • What should be the priority actions to enable further progress with supporting disability employment for: i) employers; and ii) the Government?
  • How can people with disabilities and health conditions be better supported to start and stay in work? Which disabilities are associated with the greatest barriers to work?
  • What are the barriers to employers hiring disabled people and ensuring those people stay in work?
    • How can employers be better incentivised and supported to employ disabled people and to adapt jobs and workplaces to better accommodate their needs?
  • How successful have policies, such as Access to Work and the Disability Confident Scheme, been at increasing employment rates among disabled people and ensuring disabled people stay in work? How could they be improved?
  • Does self-employment provide a valuable route for disabled people to find and stay in work? How could support for self-employed disabled people be improved?
  • How will the Government’s announced reforms to disability employment support, such as Universal Support, WorkWell and the proposals in the Back to Work Plan, help close the disability employment gap?

Deadline for submissions

The deadline for submissions is Thursday 28 March 2024.


You can download an EasyRead version of the call for evidence.

British Sign Language

You can watch a video of the inquiry's call for evidence in British Sign Language on the UK Parliament Youtube channel.


You can hear the inquiry's call for evidence on the UK Parliament Soundcloud channel.

Further information

Image: Adobe Stock