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THE TUC has lambasted the Tories for making “no progress” on the disability wage gap as campaigners warn that newly announced plans to cut welfare spending by £4 billion will push more into poverty.
According to an analysis by the union confederation published today, non-disabled workers earn about a sixth more than their disabled counterparts.
The difference comes to about £66.50 a week — more than the average household spends on the weekly food shop.
While the pay gap has fallen from 17.2 per cent last year, it is still higher than it was a decade ago — 13.2 per cent in 2013-14, which is the earliest comparable data available.
TUC general secretary Paul Nowak said: “It’s shameful there has been zero progress on the disability pay gap in the last decade.
“Being disabled shouldn’t mean you are given a lower wage — or left out of the jobs market altogether.
“Too many disabled people are held back at work, not getting the reasonable adjustments they need to do their jobs.
“And we need to strengthen the benefits system for those who are unable to work or are out of work, so they are not left in poverty.”
Meanwhile, the BBC reported that the government is aiming to slash £4bn from its welfare budget, under plans that would affect hundreds of thousands of people unable to work due to health conditions from 2025.
The proposals would reportedly see many more forced to seek work despite suffering from a range of physical and mental health conditions.
Disabled People Against Cuts co-founder Linda Burnip said: “That such a large pay gap persists year after year shows why government plans to force disabled people and carers into work are ill thought out and most likely to fail miserably.
“Disabled employees remain vastly undervalued and it seems unlikely that work will lift them out of poverty while such a large pay differential continues to exist.”
Disability Rights UK head of policy Fazilet Hadi said: “Current government proposals will do nothing to alleviate poverty, instead proposed changes to the work capability assessment will subject more disabled people to unfair benefit sanctions and push more working-age disabled people into poverty.”
The TUC said the pay gap tends to persist throughout a disabled person’s career, with women suffering the greatest disadvantage.
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