Press release

First Disability Confident city sets out bold employment ambition for Wales

Alun Cairns: “It is great news that Swansea will be the first Disability Confident city"


Swansea’s efforts to promote employment equality for disabled people have been given the official seal of approval, after being named the UK’s first Disability Confident city.

The Disability Confident campaign aims to debunk the myths around employing disabled people and encourage employers to take advantage of the wealth of talent available. The Government believes every disabled person who wants to work should be able to, and aims to halve the gap between the disabled employment rate and the overall employment rate by 2020.

Swansea has been awarded this unique accolade thanks to the overwhelmingly positive response of local employers including Swansea Council, the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency and Swansea University. Campaigners and businesses in the city have now set themselves the ambitious target of signing-up every single employer in the area.

Minister for Disabled People, Justin Tomlinson, said:

Swansea is leading the way by becoming the UK’s first Disability Confident city, something the whole community can be proud of. With this statement, Swansea has laid down a challenge to other cities and towns to follow its lead.

Disability Confident is about letting disabled people know that their skills and enterprise are recognised by employers, at the same time as encouraging firms to reap the benefits of a diverse workforce and disabled talent.

The campaign will play a crucial role in achieving our aim to halve the disability gap, improving equality of opportunity and giving more disabled people the chance of a fulfilling career.

More than 60 firms including Asda, Barclays and BT have signed up to Disability Confident and are putting the principles into practice by increasing the opportunities for disabled people.

The Disability Confident campaign, employment support funding through Access to Work, and reforms to disability and unemployment benefits have led to significant progress in increasing the number of disabled people in work. The most recent figures showed a rise of 238,000 over the past year - an average of 650 disabled people a day.

In total, more than 3.2 million disabled people are now in work compared to 2.9 million last year and the number of disabled people accessing the New Enterprise Allowance scheme to set-up their own business has nearly doubled.

Wales Office Minister Alun Cairns said:

It is great news that Swansea will be the first Disability Confident city.

It is important that disabled people across Wales have the same opportunities and choices as everyone else and I am proud that Swansea will be leading the way for the rest of the country.

The UK Government is doing all it can to support disabled people - schemes such as Disability Confidence and Access to Work are helping change perceptions of disabled people and get them into a secure job.

By continuing to remove barriers and increase understanding, I hope to see more cities across Wales become Disability Confident.

Disabled employment in numbers

  • The working age disability employment rate in the UK is now 46.3 per cent (compared to 44.2 per cent in from the same period in 2014, a 2.1 percentage point increase)
  • The non-disabled employment rate in the UK is now at 79.3 per cent (compared to 78.2 per cent for the same period in 2014, a 1.1 percentage point increase)
  • There is an employment rate gap between disabled and non-disabled people of 32.9 percentage points in the UK (compared to 34 percentage points from the same period in 2014, a 1.0 percentage point narrowing of the employment rate gap)

The Purple Pound

The ‘Purple Pound’, representing the total annual net income after housing costs of households containing a disabled person, was estimated at around £212 billion in 2012/13, and many employers have found that a good representation of disabled staff is the key to connecting with disabled customers.

Published 30 June 2015