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More disabled workers face discrimination at the DWP

DWPTHE number of disabled civil servants who have faced discrimination within the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has risen by nearly a quarter in just a year, according to new figures.

More than 1,400 disabled civil servants who took part in the survey for the Cabinet Office said they had been discriminated against in 2015, compared with 1,038 in 2014.

Although more DWP civil servants (61,019) responded to the 2015 survey than the 2014 survey (54,426), the figures show that the proportion of staff who faced disability-related discrimination rose by 23.5 per cent.

And there were far more staff discriminated against on the grounds of disability in 2015 (1,437) than age (895), caring responsibilities (1,041), race (429), gender (607) or sexual orientation (153).

But the minister for disabled people, Justin Tomlinson, has failed to express any concern about the figures or suggest a plan for tackling the problem of rising disability discrimination within his own department.

The disabled crossbench peer Baroness [Jane] Campbell said the figures were “very worrying”, and showed DWP needed to “sort out its own housekeeping”.

The results of the survey – carried out as part of the annual Civil Service People Survey – come as a huge embarrassment for Tomlinson, who is leading a campaign to make other employers more “disability confident”.

The Disability Confident campaign aims to work with employers to “challenge attitudes towards disability” and “ensure that disabled people have the opportunities to fulfil their potential and realise their aspirations”.

But Baroness Campbell said: “The DWP needs to sort out its own housekeeping, otherwise how can they possibly lead by example on the Disability Confident campaign.”

A DWP spokesman said: “Any form of bullying, harassment or discrimination is unacceptable and where formally reported it will be dealt with in the strongest possible way.”

He added: “It would be overly simplistic to interpret the People Survey findings as reflecting an increase in these incidents.

“The figures are in part a reflection of the work we have been doing to encourage more people to come forward and raise awareness in this important area.”

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