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Leicestershire Centre for Integrated Living

'Transformative' disability plan to be unveiled

Date: 28/7/2021
Summary: A £1.6bn strategy aimed at improving the lives and opportunities of disabled people has been unveiled by the government.

The National Disability Strategy has been described by the prime minister as "transformative".

It aims to encourage accessible housing and improve access to education and employment.

But a disabled Conservative peer, Lord Shinkwin, said the plans did not "go far enough".

The UK-wide strategy was first announced by Boris Johnson in the 2019 Conservative manifesto.

The prime minister described it as the "most ambitious and transformative disability plan in a generation".

The plan aims to:

  • Increase the number of accessible homes and adapt older properties
  • Provide £300m to support children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND)
  • Pilot an Access to Work Adjustment Passport making it easier for disabled people to change jobs
  • Increase the number of disabled people working for government intelligence agencies. MI6 has a target of 9% by 2025
  • Audit mainline railway stations for disabled accessibility

In its strategy, the government has also said it will review the education system for children with special educational needs and disabilities.

Lord Kevin Shinkwin said the document was a "broken promise" and he did not believe it would prevent disabled people from being shut out of society.

He said: "The Department of Work and Pensions, which has led on the development of this strategy, does benefits but it doesn't do equality.

"I think that it shows that this government doesn't understand the desire and potential of disabled people to be seen as more than just recipients. We are contributors, we are all people."

Labour said the strategy was "a lacklustre effort with too much talking and not enough doing".

Shadow minister for disabled people Vicky Foxcroft said: "The whole consultation process failed to properly consult with disabled people organisations, while many critical areas such as collecting data, adequate funding and the ongoing crisis in social care were completely ignored."

National disability charities said the strategy did not give the "transformational change" that was promised.

Sense, which campaigns for better lives for deaf and blind people, said it was a "small step" that would not produce concrete actions resulting in lasting improvements.

But Work and Pensions Secretary Therese Coffey said the strategy would help "level up opportunity and improve the everyday experience of disabled people".

She said: "It sets out the practical actions we will take now, alongside clear accountability for delivering them, as well as renewing our ambition to do even more as we build back fairer."

Source: BBC

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