Gordon has joined charity Leonard Cheshire to mark “International Day of Persons with Disabilities” to hear about their work to tackle the disability employment gap.

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He attended a drop in event with the charity in parliament – and learnt more about this year’s theme day “Empowering persons with disabilities and ensuring inclusiveness and equality”.

Last year, research conducted by Leonard Cheshire revealed that one in five employers said they would be less likely to employ a disabled person. Of those line managers who are less likely to employ a disabled person, almost three in four would be concerned they would struggle to do the job.

Gordon said: “I am delighted to support Leonard Cheshire’s Untapped Talent campaign this International Day of Persons with Disabilities. We have a higher than average amount of people with disabilities or long-term health problems in Blackpool. Locally my office works very closely with organisations such as Blackpool Transport and Disability First to help people lead more independent lives and learn new skills.

“Both as the local MP and Shadow Skills Minister, I know disabled people have a multitude of skills and are an asset to any workplace. It is vital that they are supported whilst finding work and employers recognise the huge potential they bring. I know from speaking to Alan Reid at Disability First, that their recent grant of nearly a million pounds will start to address some of these issues, but also the stigmas around employing a disabled person with disability training for both employers and employees in Blackpool.”

Neil Heslop, Leonard Cheshire’s Chief Executive added: “Although progress has been made in some workplaces over recent decades, the disability employment gap remains unacceptably high and many disabled people who want to work are shut out of the workforce.”

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