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Government pledge to make Britain most accessible in the world

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The Government has launched its new Disability Action Plan – 32 steps it is taking to make the UK the most accessible place in the world for disabled people to live, work and thrive.

In a press release the Government said there will be:

  • New plan sets out 32 practical actions to transform the everyday lives of disabled people
  • Measures include new online resources to help councils create accessible playgrounds, helping disabled people get into elected office and UK to explore hosting 2031 Special Olympics World Summer Games
  • Plans informed by the views of over 1,300 disabled people, their families and interested parties aim to transform the lives of millions, ensuring disabled people can participate fully in society

From helping to ensure more disabled children can use their local playground to supporting assistance guide dog users and aspiring disabled politicians, the Disability Action Plan outlines concrete changes designed to make a real difference now and in the future.

Specific actions include:

  • a new fund to support disable d people who want to be elected to public office
  • building an online information hub for local authorities on creating accessible playgrounds
  • a new working group to educate businesses on the legal rights of assistance dog owners and make it simpler to report when they are refused access to a business leading new research into emerging issues affecting disabled people in the UK over the next 20 years

The Cabinet Office’s Disability Unit will also be working with other government departments to explore bidding to host and deliver the 2031 Special Olympics World Summer Games.

The publication of the Disability Action Plan is just the latest chapter in the government’s drive to improve the lives of millions of disabled people. This has included seeing 1.3 million more disabled people in work now than in 2017 – delivering a government commitment 5 years early.

We have also increased funding for the education of children and young people with more complex needs by more than 50% over the past 4 years, and we have passed 2 landmark pieces of legislation - the British Sign Language (BSL) Act and the Downs Syndrome Act.

Minister for Disabled People, Health and Work, Mims Davies MP, said:

'We are building on this government’s really strong track record of supporting and delivering for disabled people by using their key feedback to deliver vital, everyday changes to their lives and we have listened to their asks and are truly determined to deliver on them.

"This new wide ranging plan means disabled children can rightly enjoy the fun of the playground, disabled customers can use the services they’re entitled to and businesses who break laws around assistance dogs will be firmly held to account amongst other impactful changes.

I look forward to seeing the immediate impact of the Disability Action Plan while we deliver on long-term reforms to make this country the most accessible and importantly equal place to live in the world – so everyone can live their lives to the full and thrive."

Sport England CEO and Disability and Access Ambassador for Sport and Physical Activity, Tim Hollingsworth said:

"I support the government’s plans to explore hosting the 2031 Special Olympics World Summer Games. As an event it is both important as the pinnacle event for athletes across the world and inspiring and uplifting for everyone who attends or is involved.

As a passionate advocate for disability sport, I am eager to explore the tangible benefits that could come from this initiative in this country, as well as the other more immediate actions in the Disability Action Plan, all aimed at improving the lives of disabled people."

Further Disability Action Plan pledges include:

  • ensuring disabled people’s experiences are fully taken into account during resilience planning for emergencies
  • publishing research into the accessibility of private sector products and services in Spring 2024
  • holding a conference on climate adaptation and disability
  • addressing concerns that the Ultra Low Emission Zone and Clean Air Zones have led to some disabled people feeling excluded from city centres and across London

Chair of the Disability Unit East Midlands Regional Stakeholder Network, Justin Donne, said:

" I am a firm believer in inclusive and participatory decision-making, I have been honoured to witness the profound impact of the Disability Unit’s genuine engagement with disabled individuals and organisations during the consultation process.

This collaborative approach not only amplifies the voices of those directly affected but also ensures that our policies and initiatives are truly reflective of diverse perspectives and needs.

The invaluable insights shared have undoubtedly enriched our efforts towards creating a more accessible and equitable society for all."

The Disability Action Plan sits alongside the National Disability Strategy which outlines the government’s long-term vision for transforming disabled people’s lives for the better.

It also builds on the government’s employment and welfare reforms – including the new £2.5 billion Back to Work Plan which will help thousands more disabled people and people with health conditions to start and thrive in work. Meanwhile, our Chance to Work Guarantee will tear down barriers by getting rid of the fear of reassessment that we know many disabled people who want to try work still face.   

[ A BSL format of the press release is available here. ]

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