Research: Locked Out of the Labour Market

Year of Publication: 

Leonard Cheshire has published an excellent report based on the findings from a survey of disabled workers and employers. The survey found that in the UK, 71% of disabled people who were employed in March 2020 have found that their work has been impacted by the pandemic. In Scotland this increases to 82%, in Wales 69% and in Northern Ireland 58%. The Locked Out of the Labour Market report produces a number of recommendations for Government and BASE fully supports them. The recommendations link well with the proposals in the Access to Jobs campaign.

Savanta ComRes interviewed 1,171 working age disabled adults (18 – 65) in the UK between 17 and 30 September 2020. Data were weighted to be nationally representative of working age disabled adults in the UK by age, gender and region.


Of disabled people who were employed in March: 

■ 24% in the UK have since worked reduced hours – 29% in Scotland, 25% in Wales, 24% in Northern Ireland 

■ 20% in the UK have since lost out on income – 25% in Scotland, 25% in Wales and 9% in Northern Ireland 

■11% have felt at risk of redundancy – 15% in Scotland, 15% in Wales and 7% in Northern Ireland 

■ 57% have felt more anxiety than usual due to concerns that their job is at risk – 67% of disabled people in Scotland, 64% in Wales and 51% in Northern Ireland 

■ 40% feel at greater risk of redundancy due to employers judging them on the basis of their disability – 47% in Scotland, 39% in Wales and 40% in Northern Ireland


The Government's furlough scheme ends on 31 October. 

■ 74% of disabled people in the UK placed on furlough said that Government support through the scheme has helped to protect their job. 

■ However, of all working disabled people placed on furlough in the UK, 26% have not been able to return to work.



The report makes the following recommendations:

1. Introduce a Jobs Guarantee for newly unemployed disabled people with specialist disability employment support.

2. Continue to offer access to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme to people who are clinically vulnerable to Covid-19 following the examples of what has worked in other countries.

3. Improve Kickstart, so that it is better tailored to disabled young people.

4. In this time of financial crisis for many, with increased insecurity at work and many seeking new employment, it is even more important that the benefits system works better as a safety net to stop people falling into poverty.

5. Put in place improved support for employers in the recruitment and retention of disabled people.

6. Adjustment passports or ‘purple passports’ should be introduced.

7. Promote Access to Work.

8. Introduce mandatory reporting for large employers on their performance in employing disabled people.

9. Enforce labour market standards.