A survey by a leading charity surveyed disabled people and discovered at least a quarter fear they will lose their job as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. There have been calls to the government from the disability equality campaign for disabled people at work to be a priority. Disabled people also fear that their employers are unable to create a safe working environment for them. The UK government has responded by saying that it is committed to helping disabled people return to work.
Scope says the disabled have been hardest hit by the pandemic. it asked 874 adults with a disability who are in employment about their views on returning to work. it found that 41% feel anxious and 50% are also worried about using public transport to get too and from work. A huge 87% are worried that others will not respect social distancing rules putting them at risk.
Many need support when getting in and out of buildings and on and off of public transport and of course social distancing becomes much more difficult if not impossible in certain environments.
An open letter has been sent to the PM warning of a looming recession for disabled people often already at the sharp end of poverty. Disabled people generally feel forgotten by the government and the disproportionate effects on employment due to COVID must be addressed. Also disabled people must not be pushed back into the workplace without careful thought about their concerns.
The letter calls for disabled people to be included in every plan and change in regulations around easing of lockdown.
Scope’s letter highlight’s the prime minister commitment at the beginning of 2020 for government departments to act on the inequalities faced by disabled people.
“It is vital now that government delivers on this ambition,” it says.