Leisure, public transport, tourism and university bosses are to be brought in front of a new group of MPs and “held to account” for their failure to make services accessible to young disabled people.
Paul Maynard, chair of the new all party parliamentary group (APPG) for young disabled people, made the pledge at the group’s launch in Westminster this week.
Maynard, the disabled Conservative MP for Blackpool North and Cleveleys, said the group would highlight those areas “where service provision simply is not good enough” for young disabled people.
He said: “What we want to make sure happens is that all those service providers get summoned here… are made to stand in front of us as MPs and are held to account for what they are doing and what they are not doing.”
Maynard said he wanted to ensure that at every one of the group’s agms “we can point to successes where we have changed the culture of service provision in this country”.
He said he particularly wanted to challenge problems faced by young disabled people with complex needs as they make the transition from childhood to adulthood.
The APPG – which will be vice-chaired by Labour’s shadow equalities minister Fiona Mactaggart – has been set up with the support of Trailblazers, a campaigning group of more than 300 young disabled people run by the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign.
Members of Trailblazers were at the launch to talk about the investigations they have carried out since 2008 into the inequalities they face in public transport, employment, higher education, tourism and leisure facilities.
Oxford University student Zoe Hallam said that many young disabled people “get the impression that they are turned away because of their disability because employers think of us as risks or inconveniences”.
She added: “If we are capable of doing the job, and we are capable of doing the job, there should not really be any barriers.”
Social worker Hannah-Lou Blackall told MPs at the launch that young disabled people need “boundless determination, problem-solving skills and a robust sense of humour” just to plan a holiday.
16 February 2011