What the PM did (not quite) say about disabled people in top jobs

JC: Prime Minister, could you tell us how you think the UK may be missing out by employing so few disabled people in top jobs?

DC: My wife likes to say that if you don't have disabled people in the top places, you are not just missing out on 20 per cent of the talent, you are missing out on a lot more than 20 percent - and I think she probably has a point.

JC: Indeed. Some would say that having people at the top who offer a new perspective and who represent the one in 5 customers who also have some kind of disability can only be good for business and the economy, enabling companies and organisations to understand customer needs better. How well would you say we are doing now?

DC: We still have a long way to go. If you look at top businesses in Britain, there still aren't nearly enough disabled people in the boardroom. If you look at politics in Britain, there aren't nearly enough around the Cabinet table.

JC: Quite - in fact a total absence at the Cabinet table, unless any of your colleagues prefers not to divulge a condition which may not be visible. But moving on, could you tell us please how you think UK employers need to adapt to encourage more disabled people to achieve senior positions?

DC: I think in every walk of life, whether the judiciary, politics or business, there is a lot further to go. My own view is it isn't enough to just open up and say we will treat everyone equally, when you are starting from such a position of disadvantage.

JC: Yes. That's an important point. So what could employers do in your opinion?

DC: Companies, political parties and other organisations need to actively go out and encourage disabled people to join in, to sign up and to take the course, to become part of the endeavour. Just opening up and saying 'You're welcome to try if you want to doesn't get over the fact that there have been all sorts of barriers in the way.

JC: Yes, I am aware of such barriers myself, I must admit. Could you finally share with us your insights into the situation in the Conservative party?

DC: In terms of my political party, before the last election we had no disabled MPs. We now have 3*. We have made a big change but it is only 3 out of 300, so it's not nearly enough, so we need to do more.

JC: Prime Minister, thank you very much indeed. Good messages there for all employers to take on board.


[*Figures found via personal research. I would welcome evidence that this is higher.]


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