Income protection insurer Unum has launched a national campaign to improve workplace opportunities for people with disabilities.

Unum is urging industry, government and the voluntary sector to set challenging targets to improve employment prospects for the disabled over the next decade.

The insurer points out that 17% of newly disabled people lose their employment during the first year, compared to 7% of non-disabled people. Unum believes this could be reduced by 1% per year.

Lawrence Churchill, chairman of Unum, said achieving greater social inclusion for the disabled was outlined in the Disability Discrimination Act 1995.

“Yet it is difficult to find evidence to indicate that this ambition has been realised, or that any significant progress has been made at all,” he said.

Unum has pledged £500,000 to help achieve improvements over the next three years.

This will go towards establishing an award for the best employer of the disabled, promoting advice helplines for employers and establishing best practice guidelines.