Disability news

ELECTION 2024: Labour is challenged over their promises to disabled people

Keir Starmer in front of a sign which reads change vote labour

Labour is being challenged over the potential promises they made in their manifesto on how they will support disabled people if they win next month’s general election.

Disability activists argue the information is too vague with little explanation on how the opposition will achieve their targets.

The Labour party say they will help disabled people “back into work” and “make work pay”, but they haven’t gone into detail on how they intend to do it.

Dan White from Disability Rights UK told The Big Issue Labour needs to be “clearer on the future.

“This manifesto is written to reassure, not to reveal too much, which is a shame.”

Amongst the party’s 125 page document their manifesto states, “Labour is committed to reviewing universal credit so that it makes work pay and tackles poverty.

“Our system will be underpinned by rights and responsibilities – people who can work, should work – and there will be consequences for those who do not fulfil their obligations.”

Labour MP Alison McGovern said in May the welfare system needs “big changes”, including “changes to PIP (personal independence payments).”

White believes the system requires a “drastic overhaul and a sharp injection of empathy and humanity”.

“A commitment to discuss disability benefits and carers related debt would have been welcomed as well as a commitment to the UNCRPD which would have secured rights for disabled people.”

He continued: “We currently have the lowest benefits in Europe and disabled people are looking for a political party in this election that dares to care, that dares to understand how we live and what we need, rather than look to continue to remove what little financial support we have.”

Labour has also vowed to change the Access to Work policy and handle the current backlog of claims which continue to mount up to “create plans to support more disabled people and those with health conditions into work”.

The party went on to assure disabled people they would not face an “immediate benefit reassessment” if their new job “does not work out”.

“We believe the work capability assessment is not working and needs to be reformed or replaced, alongside a proper plan to support disabled people to work,” Labour states in their manifesto.

James Taylor, director of strategy at disability equality charity Scope, said: “Commitments to improve the back to work test and Access to Work are welcome, but we’ve been here before. Reforms have often been code for cuts and sanctions – and we need to see genuine change.

“We want the next government to tackle the extra costs of disability. To transform attitudes to disability. To ensure that those of us who want to work can do so. To fix the broken benefits system… every political party must commit to creating an equal future.”

Labour has committed itself to introduce “full right to equal pay for disabled people” referring to the current disability pay gap which stands at around 14.6 percent.

Their manifesto states: “Building on gender pay gap reporting, we will introduce disability and ethnicity pay gap reporting for large employers.”

[ You can read Labour’s full manifesto on the party’s website. ]

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