The Liberal Democrat general election manifesto includes disability policies across employment, education, social care and health.
The manifesto says there is more to do to tackle workplace discrimination, and that there are far too many barriers to work for disabled people.
It promises to extend the statutory right to request flexible working – currently only open to parents and carers – to all employees.
And it says a Liberal Democrat government would improve the support provided for disabled job-seekers, and reform the access to work scheme, so that disabled people could secure funding for workplace adjustments before they applied for a job.
In education, the party would guarantee special educational needs (SEN) “diagnostic assessments” for all five-year-olds, improve SEN provision and improve SEN training for teachers.
It would also introduce better recording of hate crimes against disabled people and other minorities.
And it would extend winter fuel payments to all severely disabled people, a long-standing demand of several disability organisations.
In social care, the party says it would “integrate health and social care to create a seamless service, ending bureaucratic barriers and saving money to allow people to stay in their homes for longer rather than going into hospital or long-term residential care”.
It would also scrap Labour’s “flawed” personal care at home act – which will provide free personal care at home to disabled and older people with the highest needs – and use the money to provide a week’s “respite” a year for carers who spend at least 50 hours a week looking after a relative.
The manifesto says a Liberal Democrat government would “immediately” establish an independent commission to develop “sustainable” proposals for long-term care that would attract all-party support, with any solution based on “fairness, affordability and sustainability”.
It would also improve access to cognitive and behavioural therapies for people with mental health conditions.
The manifesto says it is “deeply disappointing” that the government has failed to provide “adequate support” for people with haemophilia who were infected with hepatitis C and HIV through receiving contaminated NHS blood and blood products in the 1970s and 1980s. It says a Liberal Democrat government would set up a working group, involving service-users, to “determine appropriate levels of financial assistance”.
The manifesto also promises to move offenders with mental health conditions from prison into “more appropriate secure accommodation”.
Manifesto length: 109 pages
Mentions of the words “disabled”, “disability” and “disabilities”: 6
14 April 2010