disabledBirmingham has been named at the top of the list for support for disabled workers.

The city is leading the way in providing extra help to get disabled people into mainstream work, minister for disabled people Esther McVey said.

Last year, 700 people from Birmingham received support to get or stay in work through the government’s Access to Work Scheme, with 550 from Leeds and 400 from Glasgow.

Ms McVey stated that even though progress has been made with helping disabled people to find work, there is still a long way to go to boost inclusion in the workplace.

“That is why we’ve opened up our flagship programme so that disabled people can have the same choice of jobs as everyone else – in every sector, from hairdressing to engineering and everything in between,” she said.

The government minister added more than 30,000 businesses or disabled entrepreneurs took up the coalition’s offer of extra support through Access to Work in 2012.

She stressed the government is aware many more disabled people could benefit through the scheme and urged them to get in touch to see what help and support is available to them.

The latest official employment figures show that half a million disabled people in the UK are self-employed, making up 15 per cent of all employed disabled people, while around 100,000 of them provide jobs by employing at least one other person. It was noted that this compares with the 3.2 million non-disabled people in self-employment, which is 13 per cent of those in employment.

Recent research carried out by Scope found regular discrimination in the workplace and wider society is still a fact of life for many disabled people.

Its poll showed 84 per cent of disabled people claim people patronise them and 54 per cent say they experience discrimination on a regular basis.