Across the UK lockdown restrictions are lifting with dates confirmed for people who are shielding able to stop shielding. However, new fears have been revealed by a disability charity that the disabled community may be left behind.
Disability equality charity Scope has led a coalition of campaigners in an open letter to Prime Minister Boris Johnson calling for urgent action to prioritise the needs of the UK’s 14 million disabled people.
Figures reveal that the disabled community have been the hardest hit by the coronavirus pandemic, with higher numbers of people with a learning disability dying of COVID-19 compared to figures from care homes.
In fact, almost two thirds of people who have died from coronavirus were disabled.
Organisations including MND Association, National Autistic Society, Parkinson’s UK and The Business Disability Forum have joined forces with disability campaigners such as Baroness Jane Campbell, Richard Herring, Sophie Morgan, Samantha Renke and Lee Ridley to sign the letter.
“On entering Downing Street, the Prime Minister made a commitment to launch a National Disability Strategy that would make life better for disabled people,” explained Mark Hodgkinson, chief executive at disability equality charity Scope.
“But coronavirus has magnified the societal and economic barriers that disabled people already face and risks turning back the clock on disability equality.
Scope has launched their We Won’t Be Forgotten campaign. The initiative detailed evidence surrounding the fears of disabled people as shielding is paused from Saturday 1 August 2020 in England.
WE WON’T BE FORGOTTEN
Responding to We Won’t Be Forgotten figures showed that half of disabled people feel anxious about shielding being paused and only five per cent of disabled people feel safe about shielding being pause.
Similarly, 67 per cent of disabled people think the government’s plans for easing lockdown did not take their needs into consideration. In fact, almost a third of respondents said they would continue to shield and not leave home when lockdown ends.
Mark continued: “Scope’s findings reveal that many disabled people are worried about life after lockdown.
“Shielding may be set to pause, but for millions of disabled people at greater risk of coronavirus their fears have not been taken into account and they feel overlooked.”