The UK Government has published its National Disability Strategy. The main things announced by the UK Government as part of the Strategy are:
• The upgrade of job support and opportunities, housing and transport
• Improving accessibility of homes, £300m investment in support for children with special educational needs and disabilities in schools and an online work passport for disabled students moving from education to work
• Plans to consult on disability workforce reporting for businesses with more than 250 staff
• More accessible housing, easier commuting and better job prospects for millions of disabled people
“This is not the visionary strategy, led by the voices of disabled people, we were promised. We welcome the appointment of ministerial champions to take action and drive change in their departments, alongside the commitment to tackle the extra costs disabled people face and reduce the disability employment gap. But many of the activities outlined for year one of the strategy were already planned, and the new announcements lack detail or are subject to consultations. The current strategy contains few new and concrete proposals that will positively impact the day-to-day lives of those of us with mental health problems.
“We need a longer-term vision that is broader in ambition, firmly rooted in the lives and experiences of disabled people which acknowledges and aims to tackle the existing inequalities that have worsened since the pandemic. While our amazing Team GB Paralympians will soon be focused on winning medals in Tokyo, the reality for many disabled people in Britain is that they are living on the breadline. Nearly half of people living in poverty in the UK are disabled or living with a disabled person, yet there are no recommendations for tackling poverty or shaping the ongoing review of social care. It’s shocking that two of the biggest and most pressing issues faced by disabled people are absent from this strategy.
“It’s right that the UK Government intends to put disabled people’s experience at the heart of government policy making and service delivery, but over the coming year we need to see these ideas become fully costed, multi-year plans that meet the scale of the challenges disabled people face. Anything short of this would mean the whole strategy rings hollow. The money currently earmarked to deliver the strategy will not deliver the transformational change needed and, in most cases, is not ‘new’ or additional money. Further investment will be required as part of autumn’s spending review.
“We will continue to work with the UK Government to hold them to account and make sure the current plans are properly funded and delivered. We also urge the UK Government to continue to regularly engage broadly and meaningfully with disabled people. Co-producing this strategy with disabled people is the only way we will see the much-needed improvement to their lives begin to happen.”