IES response to Department for Work & Pensions’ support to help disabled people overcome barriers to work

Press Releases

28 Mar 2019

Tony Wilson, director of the Institute for Employment Studies (IES), responds to today’s National Audit Office (NAO) report detailing the support to help disabled people overcome barriers to work.

“Disabled people are twice as likely to be out of work as those who aren’t disabled - and despite manifesto commitments, green papers and white papers those odds have barely changed over the last decade. 

“So today's report is a welcome reminder that while employment has reached record levels, the inequalities faced by disabled people have not changed.  The NAO rightly gives the government credit for their investment in building the evidence base on 'what works' and improving the quality of support from work coaches and advisers. 

“But as Amber Rudd has acknowledged, we need much greater ambition and a clear and longer term strategy. For example on current plans, just 1 per cent of out-of-work disabled people each year will access the government's flagship disability employment programme, and the two million people out of work due to long-standing health conditions usually receive no employment support at all. 

“In our view, a new approach should be built on three things: working in partnership, with disabled people and across services and sectors; building on what works and is working, both for those in and out of work; and using the Spending Review to make the case for more and better investment in the future.”


About Tony Wilson

Tony joined IES in October 2018 from his previous role as Director of Policy and Research at the Learning and Work Institute. He holds more than fifteen years’ experience of employment research, policy and programme management, leading a wide range of research programmes including disability employment, pay and progression, employment and skills devolution and employment service reform.

About the Institute for Employment Studies (IES)

The Institute for Employment Studies is a leading independent, not-for-profit centre for research and evidence-based consultancy on employment, the labour market and HR policy and practice.

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Interviews and further information

Please contact Steve O’Rourke, IES Senior Communications Officer on: +44 (0)1273 763 414 or