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Introduction

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There are 14 million Disabled people in the UK, and we make up a fifth of the population. We are not a homogenous group: we have different impairments, are different genders, sexual orientations, come from different backgrounds, and live different lives.

Some of us experience greater injustice, but we have many things in common. We all want to live in an inclusive society where everyone has a fulfilling life and feels connected and valued. We know our lives are not valued equally to others, we experience discrimination and oppression in our daily lives and disabling societal barriers to our inclusion and full participation.

Disabled people have been the hardest hit by austerity, the COVID pandemic and now the cost-of-living crisis. Evidence shows that we are disproportionately living in poverty, achieving poorer outcomes in education and far more likely to be unemployed or earn less. Many of us are forced to live away from society, our communities and families in order to get support or education. Societal infrastructure, such as housing, transport and street environment, consistently fail to meet our needs.

We urge the next UK Government to institute a radical reform programme, to tackle disablist policy making and systemic oppression and injustice, to create a society where everyone has equal life chances and is valued and treated equally.

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Transformation

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We want the government to accept that dismantling fundamental societal barriers we face requires significant investment.

 

Simply put, austerity must end. Good public services are not a drain on the budget; they are an investment in everyone’s quality of life.

 

We need a long-term Disability Strategy, co-produced with Disabled people and our organisations, that tackles the root causes of our oppression and delivers fundamental reform and investment to enable Disabled people of all ages, genders and backgrounds to thrive.

Four Step Plan

Overview

Representation and Voice

We want Disabled people to participate across all political and public roles, with the required adjustments put in place, so we can achieve real justice and equality. 

Independence

We want the right to live independently with choice and control over the support we get.

Rights

We want to fully enjoy all rights guaranteed by the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD). Discrimination we face in all areas of life must stop.

Inclusion

We want plans for every aspect of life to address specific needs of Disabled people from the outset.

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1. Representation and Voice

a person speaking to their MP, member of parliament

We want Disabled people to participate across all political and public roles, with the required adjustments put in place, so we can achieve real justice and equality.

 

Disabled people’s led organisations (“Disabled People’s Organisations”) are accountable to our community and must be viewed as primary advocates for us and be funded accordingly. Disabled People’s Organisations (DPOs) must have a seat at national and local decision-making tables and all Disabled people to fully participate in democratic processes.

Asks:

  • An election fund to support reasonable adjustments for Disabled candidates at local and national elections.

  • Strategic funding to support the network of DPOs across England to advocate for the rights of Disabled People.

  • Accessibility standards for elections including removal of voter ID.

  • Accessibility standards for all public consultation.

  • Co-produce policies and programmes at national and local level with Disabled people and our organisations.

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2. Rights

a balanced scale that represents equal rights

We want to fully enjoy all rights guaranteed by the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD). Discrimination we face in all areas of life must stop. We want financial and legal support to enforce our rights and all public bodies to have a duty to advance and enforce our rights actively. We want greater accountability for when our rights have been breached.

Asks:

  • Legislate to fully incorporate the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) into UK law.

  • Bring into force all provisions of the Equality Act, including socio-economic duty. Communication access to include languages and disability access.

  • Strengthen the Public Sector Equality Duty and ensure the Public Sector Equality Duty and the Socio-Economic duties are fully embedded in all public bodies’ decision-making processes.

  • Ensure parity in law for victims of Disability Hate Crime.

  • Legislate to ensure Disabled people who are abused by workers and professionals have the same protection and support as victims of domestic abuse, and that workers have proper pay and conditions to promote respectful relationships.

  • Introduce non-means tested legal aid for all discrimination cases.

  • End discrimination against Disabled parents, primarily mothers, including by providing social care, financial and other support to parents, making family court proceedings open to the public and fully accessible and ensuring Disabled parents have adequate income.

  • Establish an inquiry into benefits-related deaths.

  • Legislate to abolish forced detention and treatment of people on mental health grounds.

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3. Independence

two people with their fists raised in the air

We want the right to live independently with choice and control over the support we get. We want the right to live in our own fully accessible homes connected to our family, friends and community. We want major reform and investment across social security, social care, education, housing and employment, to provide Disabled people of all ages, genders, backgrounds or immigration status with a decent level of income and free at the point of use additional support that we need to fully enjoy our rights and to lead full and connected lives. We should not be forced to live in institutions or accept medical treatment we don’t want.

Asks:

Finances

  • Increase disability benefits to meet true extra costs.

  • Increase means tested benefits to adequately reflect the cost of living and extra disability related costs.

  • Stop sanctioning Disabled people.

  • Stop cutting off Disabled people’s benefits for failure to attend assessments.

  • Co-produce the benefits system that recognises everyone’s right to an adequate standard of living.

  • Abolish No Recourse to Public Funds – benefit and healthcare rights for all.

 

Independent living

  • Legislate for the right to independent living and a taskforce to develop independent living we can all be proud of.

  • Commit extra 8 bn funding for social care and ensure funding is prioritised for community-based support.

  • Stop social care charging.

 

Housing

  • Introduce a national requirement for all new build homes to be accessible and 10% to be wheelchair accessible.

  • Increase funding for Disabled Facilities Grant, remove the means-test and increase the grant amount.

  • Implement all recommendations of the Grenfell inquiry, ensuring all Disabled people can evacuate safely.

  • Introduce enforceable standards to ensure good quality, well insulated housing in private and social rented sectors.

  • Include adaptability requirements into Decent Homes Standard.

  • Introduce rent caps so that no one pays more than one third of their income on rent.

  • Invest in building accessible social housing.

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4. Inclusion

a group of people of different ages, races and impairments

We want plans for every aspect of life including energy policy, climate change, digital and technological development, health, housing, transport, street environment and emergency planning, to address specific needs of Disabled people from the outset. Segregated settings and programmes should not be a default. Choice, control, and inclusion are vital. Disabled people should have support to live, learn and work in the community.

Asks:

Education

  • Work with organisations of Disabled people and the national organisation representing Deaf people, with equal decision-making power, to create an action plan/educational policy to fully implement the right to education in accordance with UNCRPD Article 4.3 & Article 24 and UNDRIP Articles 13 and 14. 

  • A right for Deaf and deafblind children to get an education in BSL and in environments which maximise personal, academic and social development both within and outside formal school settings and support the linguistic identity of Deaf and deafblind children.

  • A right for every Disabled and Deaf student to get appropriate support to attend and remain in a fully inclusive mainstream education setting.

  • A right for every Disabled and Deaf child and young person  to be mentored by a qualified and professionally trained person with a similar life experience of impairment, disability, communication and access needs from the point of diagnosis or earlier.

  • Commit £3bn extra per year for education support: to fund SEND; increase the number of Deaf and Disabled people in the teaching workforce; and increase the capacity and ability of national representative organisations of Deaf or Disabled people to lead on getting Deaf and Disabled education done right.

 

Access

  • Review and strengthen the BSL Act to ensure BSL is recognised, promoted and protected on a par with English and all BSL-related public services and procedures are designed, managed and delivered by Deaf BSL signers.

  • New accessibility standards which meet the needs of people with different impairments for transport, built environment, and public realm.

  • Infrastructure investment plans and regulatory measures to ensure Disabled people’s access to the environment, transport, information and communication.

 

Work

  • Introduce mandatory workforce monitoring including pay gap and progression, including monitoring pay gap and progression for Disabled women/people of colour.

  • Introduce mandatory two-week timeframe for reasonable adjustments and an enforcement framework which does not fully depend on an individual.

  • Commit to closing the disability employment gap.

  • A right to disability responsive employment support which helps people get good jobs.

  • Ensure quick and adequate support from Access to Work.

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