A new report has recommended a number of measures for the Government to consider to help close the employment gap for disabled people.

The Disability Commission, an independent body backed by the Centre for Social Justice, is calling on the Prime Minister to make workforce reporting mandatory, as it warned the disability employment gap has widened as a result of the pandemic.

It said employers with more than 250 employees should be required to report the proportion of their workforce that is disabled and the pay gaps that exist between disabled and non-disabled employees.

The commission said latest figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show 52% of disabled people are in employment compared with 81% of non-disabled people.

In a new report published on Tuesday, other recommendations made by the commission include increasing supported routes into employment, including work experience for disabled pupils, and reforming Government schemes such as Disability Confident and Access to Work.

It also urged the Government to take into account an organisation’s disability employment records in all large public sector contract award decisions, and to require them to work towards increasing the proportion of disabled people within their workforce.

It said the report extends beyond employment to cover other areas of life for disabled people, including transport, education, housing, and access to goods and services.

The commission argues that until employment disadvantage is addressed disabled people will continue to face social exclusion, financial hardship and reduced wellbeing.

Ministers have asked disabled people, carers and charities for their views to help determine the Prime Minister’s upcoming national strategy for disabled people, which is due to be published in spring this year.

Lord Shinkwin, who chairs the commission, said: “The launch of the Prime Minister’s national strategy for disabled people should mark an important milestone as the country recovers from the economic and social pain caused by the pandemic, which has disproportionately affected disabled people’s income, health, and employment prospects.

“The Commission believes that central to the Prime Minister’s strategy should be robust policies to ensure equality of opportunity in employment and to support the ability of disabled people to live independently.”

David Forbes-Nixon, Commission deputy chairman, said he hoped the Prime Minister will embrace the recommendations to draw on the “extraordinary and untapped talent pool”.

He added: “Having a disabled son has opened up my eyes to the inequalities in education, employment and life chances for disabled people in the UK.

“Now is the time for action and driving real change in delivering a fairer society for all.”

It comes as business leaders earlier this week called on the Prime Minister to deliver an “ambitious and transformative” disability plan.

In an open letter to Boris Johnson, more than a dozen senior business leaders including Post Office chief executive Nick Read, Schroders chief executive Peter Harrison and Clifford Chance Global Managing partner Matthew Layton urged him to consider the Disability Commission’s report.

A Government spokesperson said: “We have undertaken the biggest listening exercise on disability policy in recent history and are absolutely committed to delivering an ambitious national strategy for disabled people, underpinned by their direct insight as well as expert advice from charities and stakeholders.

“Supporting disabled people to find and stay in work will be a vital part of this, building on our successful programmes of tailored support, including our Access to Work programme which has supported thousands of disabled people to stay in work during the pandemic, and the life changing help of our disability employment advisers.”