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Disabled people want to work but so much is stopping us

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In a time of great political and economical uncertainty, most of us crave stability and security more than ever.

But for many of the 13.9 million disabled people living in the UK, working – maintaining an independent life with a stable income – can be almost impossible.

I always knew what I wanted to be when I grew up, even as young as girl I’d proudly say that I wanted to go to university and be a teacher, or become an actress, which is exactly the path I took.

From family members and teachers to medical professionals, few shared my optimism and my declaration was often met with patronising words such as ‘oh bless her’.

My abilities were constantly underestimated and although I eventually landed my dream job, success did not come easy. To this day I battle against prejudices, barriers and lack of understanding of my needs by work colleagues, sentiments felt by many disabled people today.

So many disabled people, including myself, are more than capable of work – and more importantly, they are desperate to work. Yet there were an estimated 3.7million disabled people of working age (16-64) in the UK in employment in January-March 2018 – an employment rate of 50.7 per cent (compared to 81.1 per cent for people without disabilities).

This is an issue being tackled by MDUK Trailblazers, a network group of 750 young disabled people and their supporters who campaign for change, as well as the Young Disabled Persons’ Working Group.


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