Disability charity Scope called on Philip Hammond to withdraw his “totally unacceptable and derogatory comments” after he said Britain’s sluggish productivity could partly be blamed on more disabled people in the workforce .
In Wednesday’s treasury select committee, the chancellor was asked about low economic productivity levels, which he had reported during the autumn Budget last month.
At first, he responded saying that high levels of unemployment, particularly youth unemployment, “will be felt for many many years to come”.
He then added: “It is almost certainly the case that by increasing participation in the workforce, including far higher levels of participation by marginal groups and very high levels of engagement in the workforce, for example of disabled people – something we should be extremely proud of – may have had an impact on overall productivity measurements.”
Anna Bird, the director of policy and research at Scope, said: “These comments are totally unacceptable and derogatory. They fundamentally undermine the government’s policy to get more disabled…