On the 11th December 2018 I launched A Fairer Scotland for Disabled People – Employment Action Plan. This plan, setting out our initial actions towards achieving the Scottish Government’s target to reduce the disability employment gap by at least half, was the culmination of two years engagement with and input from disabled people’s organisations (DPOs), disabled people and other key partners. Their support in its development was invaluable.
Over many years, too many disabled people have been left out of opportunities to access and sustain fair employment. By delivering on the actions in the Action Plan we are determined to change this.
The engagement we have undertaken has reinforced my view that we will not achieve the change we need unless the Scottish Government, and more broadly the public sector in Scotland, demonstrates leadership and establishes itself as an employer of choice for disabled people. During April to August 2018, fulfilling a commitment in A Fairer Scotland for Disabled People: Delivery Plan, we consulted on these matters, including on whether targets for employing disabled people in the public sector would be a good idea, and if so, what kind of targets, and what other actions might be needed to make a real difference.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank all those who submitted a response to our consultation.
Following this consultation I am pleased to announce that the Scottish Government will set targets for its own workers in the first instance. Our ambition remains clear – we want to drive up the employment rate for disabled people in Scotland, and we will take a lead in the public sector, starting with the Scottish Government. We will proactively use the learning from our experience and approach, share this with other public sector bodies, and support, encourage and challenge them so they can be similarly proactive. This approach will be hugely important for us as we progress towards our overall aim to at least halve the disability employment gap.
Jamie Hepburn, MSP, Minister for Business, Fair Work and Skills