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Last Updated: Saturday, 28 April 2007, 00:09 GMT 01:09 UK
Disability terms 'put firms off'
Office worker in wheelchair
Most of the employers polled wanted a diverse workforce
Employers feel the politically correct language of disability can be a barrier to employing more disabled people, a survey suggests.

Remploy, an employment services provider for disabled people, said most of the 400 employers polled believed in working towards a diverse workforce.

But some complained a lack of understanding of the terms to use when describing disabilities put them off.

The British Council of Disabled People said it was a "ridiculous excuse".

One employer, who took part in the research, said: "The ballpark is always moving, as are the words that I can say.

"You don't say that someone is blind, you say visually impaired."

Beth Carruthers, director of employment services at Remploy, said the survey showed employers recognised the talents and skills disabled people can bring to the workplace.

If I told them in my application that I was a disabled person, they would not even write back
Anne Pridmore, British Council of Disabled People

"The important thing is not the language used to described disability but that disabled people received the same respect and opportunities," she added.

But chairwoman of the British Council of Disabled People, Anne Pridmore, said: "It's an excuse for not employing disabled people. It's crucial that they are defined by the right language."

The study also found evidence that firms believed disabled people were not applying for enough jobs.

Most agreed that disabled people could work in most areas, although construction and the fire service were considered unsuitable, the study showed.

Ms Pridmore explained why more do not go for jobs: "That's because disabled people are absolutely sick to death of going to interviews and being turned down.

"If I told them in my application that I was a disabled person, they would not even write back.

"This survey has proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that the government's emphasis on getting as many disabled people as possible into the workforce will never work while we have employers who have these ideas."



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