1. In ‘Improving Lives: the Work, Health and Disability Green Paper’, published in October 2016, we set out the case for change and our vision - ‘A society where everyone is ambitious for disabled people and people with long-term health conditions, and where people understand and act positively upon the important relationship between health, work and disability’.
2. The case for change remains, and the Government is committed to realising the vision and to see one million more disabled people in work over the next ten years.
3. It is important for action to be taken now. The prevalence of disability among people of working-age has risen in recent years and is likely to rise further with an ageing workforce.
4. There are potential big gains in preventing avoidable ill-health and enabling more disabled people and people with long-term health conditions to get into and stay in work. Success will mean more people can reach their potential and achieve economic independence. In addition, employers will be able to enjoy the competitive advantages of a diverse workplace including the talents of disabled people and potential for greater productivity. We want to work with employers to realise that opportunity and to help reduce the costs of ill-health that prevents people from working – an estimated cost to the economy of £100 billion a year.
5. If we could support just 1% more eligible Employment and Support Allowance customers to find work in 2018/2019, this would bring an estimated saving to the Exchequer of £240 million plus a wider boost to the economy of £260 million.
6. This document sets out our strategy for reform over the ten-year period.
7. It sets out how the responses to the Green Paper consultation have informed our plans for taking forward the commitments and proposals we set out. It also provides the Government’s response to Thriving at work: the Stevenson/Farmer review of mental health and employers, and includes consideration of Good Work: The Taylor Review of Modern Working Practices, as well as referring to some recommendations made by Dame Carol Black in her Independent Review of the Impact on employment Outcomes of Drug or Alcohol Addiction and Obesity.
8. It focuses on activities in the next two to three years – including early reform, working with a wide range of partners, and building the evidence base. Our learning from these immediate activities will inform our plans for the later stages. This will include delivery of integrated services at scale, and legislation where needed.