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Government's disability plan to help a million people into work 'not good enough', says leading North East charity

By Kris Jepson

A leading charity, based in the North East, has told ITV News Tyne Tees that the government's disability plan to help a million more people into work within 10 years, is "not good enough".

On Thursday, Theresa May announced the new initiative, claiming it will help disabled workers stay in work and progress their careers. She said a person's life and career "should not be dictated by their disability or health condition".

Watch @krisjepson's report here:

During a conference in Newcastle on Friday, hosted by The Percy Hedley Foundation and aimed at changing attitudes towards disabled people in the workplace, the chief executive of the charity said the government's plan was not ambitious enough.

Getting a million people back into work, actually their (the government's) timescale is longer than it was before. So, whilst we welcome the announcement and commitment, it's just not good enough. We want to see more and we want to see it quicker.

– Carole Harder, The Percy Hedley Foundation
Sarah Newton MP Credit: ITV News

She was responding to comments made at the conference by the government Minister for Disabled People, Health and Work, Sarah Newton MP, who said the initiative is "ambitious".

What we're offering now is tailor-made support to help people to reach their full potential in society and that includes the opportunity to participate in the work force. There are a lot of things we want to do, we are very ambitious about that. We will be working with disabled people, working with the people that support them and we'll do as much as we possibly can, as fast as we possibly can.

– Sarah Newton MP, Minister for Disabled People, Health & Work

According to figures published by the Office for National Statistics in June, disabled people were twice as likely to be unemployed as non-disabled people.

Around 80 per cent of non-disabled people are in work, compared with just under 50 per cent of disabled people.

Baroness Grey-Thompson Credit: ITV News

Paralympian and cross-bench peer in the House of Lords, Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson, told ITV News, the plan will be difficult to deliver.

It's going to be tough to get a million more disabled people into work in a decade, because changing attitudes can take a long time. Recent research has shown if 10 disabled people go into work, actually more than that end up leaving work for other reasons, so we've got to get people in work and keep them in work.

– Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson