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City Of London Employers Failing Disabled People, Says Lord Mayor

August 3, 2015

The City’s big employers must make greater efforts to employ disabled people, the Lord Mayor of London has told The Independent in an exclusive interview. 

Alan Yarrow said: “They are not doing enough. I think they can do more and I think they need to realise how little they do at the moment.”

Mr Yarrow, whose son has disabilities, was speaking in the wake of a debate over outdated attitudes sparked by the seven-metre high Damian Hirst sculpture, entitled Charity, put up outside the Gherkin in the City. It is based on a 1960s charity box depicting a disabled young girl clutching a teddy bear and a collection tin. The charity Scope withdrew the boxes in the 1980s in favour of more positive images of disabled people.

Under Mr Yarrow, the City  of London Corporation  guarantees interviews to suitably qualified candidates with disabilities. The so-called “two ticks” scheme – which includes a number of other commitments – has been adopted by financial companies including Clydesdale bank, Royal Bank of Scotland and Scottish Widows. However, it is not universal. 

Mr Yarrow said: “I read that only 48 per cent of people with disabilities have jobs in London. If that it is the case, it is far too low a percentage. Diversity is a subject we think is incredibly important. There is no point just employing a bunch of people that are all alike.

“We are also facing the fact that the availability of employable people is falling in the capital. Those with disabilities who want to work should therefore be given a chance. Employers will probably find they are very loyal.

“We have to get through the process of accepting that not everyone is going to be what people might consider to be physically or mentally perfect. Nor do they need to be to make a contribution. ”

Elliot Dunster at Scope said: “Many tell us they feel they have missed out on a job opportunity because of employer attitudes. This is a waste of the talents of disabled people, who are a vital and often untapped resource for the UK labour market.”

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