UTV Podcast: Why Northern Ireland has such poor economic outcomes for people with disabilities

In Northern Ireland economic outcomes for people living with disabilities are some of the worst in the UK.

Disability rates in Northern Ireland are much higher than other parts of the UK.

We have the lowest employment rate for people with disabilities, the highest economic inactivity rate for people with disabilities and the highest disability pay gap in the UK.

Individuals with disabilities in Northern Ireland are also more likely to live in poverty than their peers who do not have disabilities.

On this episode of the UTV Podcast, Carol Jordan speaks to Anne Devlin from the Economic and Social Research Institute to discuss disability rates in Northern Ireland, the economic realities for those with disabilities and how they could be affected in this time of unprecedented budget cuts.

Anne touches on how for years employers here have 'talked the talk' when it comes to inclusion in employment, but few actually 'walk the walk.'

Anne says: "I know some of the charities and the groups that are supporting people going into work, they feel that there is a lot of talk about inclusion and diversity and policies, but really are people talking the talk and walking the walk at the same time and that seems to be a big one that I have come across when I am at different events and speaking to these people who are working in this space.

UTV's Carol Jordan speaks to Anne Devlin from the Economic and Social Research Institute. Credit: UTV

"There has been a lot of talk about employers having a fear about having to make reasonable adjustments.

"Most people with disabilities won't actually need reasonable adjustments but it is the fear of what this is going to cost.

"Everybody thinks this is going to mean a wheelchair ramp or something else worth thousands of pounds and most of the time that is not the case."

UTV journalist Jordan Moore also talks to Dermot Devlin a wheelchair user and disability activist who lives in Omagh about the daily challenges which he encounters as a person working with disabilities in Northern Ireland.

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