Prime Minister announces new drive to tackle barriers faced by disabled people

Prime Minister, Theresa May has today (25 June) launched a new package of measures to tackle injustices faced by disabled people in the workplace, at home and in the community head on.

Around a fifth of the working aged population identify as disabled, and the higher standards of housing, an overhaul of statutory sick pay, and greater workplace support are part of renewed efforts to ensure disabled people can fully participate in society. 

TACKLE

Prime Minister Theresa May said: “My determination to identify and tackle injustices, wherever they exist in society, remains as strong as ever. 

“So, I am proud to announce new measures to break down barriers faced by disabled people, whether in employment, housing or elsewhere. 

“We all have a crucial role – businesses, government and civil society – in working together to ensure that disabled people get the support they need, and go as far as their talents can take them.” 

The announcement follows wider government works to better assist disabled people. 

OVERHAUL

Up to £115 million is being used to develop new models of support to help people into work when they are managing a long-term health condition or disability.

Alongside, a £330m commitment to give extra employment support for claimants on Employment and Support Allowance and the Universal Credit Health Journey.

Alongside initiatives, new national outcomes data for disabled people with also be published to shine a light on further injustices in a bid to drive for change. 

The Prime Minister has also announced a new cross-government disability team.

EQUALITY

Incorporating the Office for Disability Issues, the new team will sit alongside the Government Equalities Office and Race Disparity Unit in a new Equalities Hub at the heart of government.

This team will work closely with disabled people, disabled people’s organisations and charities to develop a new approach to disability, with their views and experiences at the forefront of any new policy. Further measures will be set out later this year. 

RESPONSE

ON THE Surface, the new initiatives could deliver up to 300,000 new accessible and adaptable homes for the disabled community on a year on year basis. Guidance will also be published to ensure councils meet current standards for accessibility.

Charities have urged the government to follow through on their new initiatives and commitments.

Genevieve Edwards, Director of External Affairs at the MS Society, said: “Today’s announcements are welcome but they must be accompanied by concrete change. MS is relentless, painful, and disabling and the welfare system all too often leaves people without vital support.”

In relation to the cross-government team, David Isaac, Equality and Human Rights Commission Chair, said: “The creation of a cross-government team to coordinate disability policy is a bold statement from the government to tackle these problems and a very welcome move.

“It will help ensure the views of disabled people are better represented at the heart of government and will create a more coherent approach to improve the daily lives of millions of disabled people across the country. 

“We look forward to working closely with government to improve the experiences of disabled people in all areas of life.”

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