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Government launch National Disability Strategy

back view of a man in a wheelchair looking at kids playing in the park
back view of a man in a wheelchair looking at kids playing in the park Image credit: openaccessgovernment.org

The government launched its National Disability Strategy today, July 28, but the content has not gone done too well with a number of charities.

In the report the Tories list 100 pledges which will be put into immediate effect, a percentage of which have been welcomed by national support organisations.

But the charities have also raised concerns saying the strategy does not have any ambition, clear funding and there is no information which suggests no “transformational change”.

The initiative was launched by ministers to address increased costs which are affecting people with disabilities and to promote disabled awareness.

Today’s strategy also asks the question if it should be compulsory for a company with 250 or more employees to report on disability in their workforce and the introduction of an online access-to-work “passport” for disabled people moving between jobs or leaving education into employment.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “Just as our talented Paralympians are set to take the stage in Tokyo next month, at home we are harnessing that same ambition and spirit, to build a better and fairer life for all disabled people living in the UK.

“Our new national disability strategy is a clear plan – from giving disabled people the best start in school to unlocking equal job opportunities, this strategy sets us on a path to improve their everyday lives.”

Minister for disabled people, Justin Tomlinson, said the strategy was “transformational” and would hold the government accountable.

However leading charities are unhappy with the strategy saying it does not meet the needs of disabled people.

Richard Kramer, chief executive of Sense, said: Today’s strategy represents a small step forward, but doesn’t take the strides needed to deliver transformational change for disabled people.”

Mark Hodgkinson, chief executive Scope, praised the report for implying there will be improvements to public transport and mandatory disability reporting but was unsure how the government plan to ensure more disabled people will find work.

He said: “Many of the short-term commitments made are to be welcomed, but the strategy as a whole falls short of the transformational plan that many disabled people expected and deserve.

“Unless we get clear detail beyond the next 12 months, it is difficult to see how life will be significantly different for the next generation of disabled people.”

Chief executive of Disability Rights UK Kamran Mallick added: “The strategy has insufficient concrete measures to address the current inequalities that disabled people experience in living standards and life chances.”

The strategy also sets out to improve housing for disabled people and provide consultation with landlords to make reasonable adjustments to leasehold and common-hold homes.

The National Disability Strategy contains 114 pages.