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Pay Gap

Volume 447: debated on Wednesday 14 June 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what estimate he has made of the pay gap between able bodied and disabled workers in (a) Tamworth and (b) the UK in each year from 1997 to 2005; and what steps his Department is taking to reduce it. (53421)

This Department has not undertaken any research into the pay gap between disabled and non-disabled workers. However, the Low Pay Commission reports that, in 2004, the pay gap for people with a work-limiting disability was 13 percentage points.

The employment provisions of the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 (DDA), as amended and strengthened by this Government, place a duty on an employer not to directly discriminate against a disabled person, or to treat the disabled person less favourably for a reason related to that person's disability, unless this can be justified. The Equal Opportunities Commission’s Code of Practice on Equal Pay also makes clear that it is good practice for employers to compare the pay of disabled and non-disabled people doing equal work.

As a result of a strong economy and active labour market policies, the employment gap between disabled and non-disabled people is starting to close. The employment rate for disabled people was 38.1 per cent. in spring 1998, rising to 46.6 per cent. by spring 2005; over the same period, the employment gap fell from 35.1 per cent. to 28 per cent.

The Prime Minister’s Strategy Unit report, “Improving the Life Chances of Disabled People” set out a 20 year strategy to realise our vision of substantive equality for disabled people. This strategy is being driven by a new Office for Disability Issues, which was launched in December 2005.