The minister for disabled people has said that disabled people have shaped Labour’s disability policies for the next election.
Jonathan Shaw MP was speaking to a meeting of the all party parliamentary disability group that was packed with disabled campaigners and representatives of disability charities.
Shaw said a Labour government would focus on the 14 areas – such as discrimination, independent living, social care and transport – that were outlined in the Office for Disability Issues “Roadmap” last December.
The Roadmap details how the government plans to work towards disability equality by 2025 – and Shaw said the 14 “strands” had been chosen by disabled people.
He also said the government had announced the eight “trailblazer” councils that would pilot the new “right to control”, which would be “central” to improving independent living.
Right to control will put money from funding sources such as community care services, disabled facilities grants and independent living funds into single pots of money for disabled people to use as they wish.
Shaw also said the government would need to find sustainable ways to ensure user-led organisations could provide vital advocacy and support for disabled people.
And he said a Labour government would “ensure a far greater focus” on disability hate crime.
He said the government would also work to ensure disabled people took part as paid staff and as volunteers in the Olympic and Paralympic Games in London in 2012.
He added: “That has an enormous opportunity to impact on attitudes, and changing attitudes changes behaviour.”
He told the meeting that disabled people should “judge us on our record and our ambition”, as laid out in priorities “not chosen by the Labour Party but chosen by disabled people”.
But when asked by Simone Aspis, from the Alliance for Inclusive Education, how his party would “secure disabled people’s rights to access mainstream education”, Shaw said he agreed with his Conservative opposite number Mark Harper that parents should have the choice of whether their child attended a special or mainstream school.
3 March 2010