Five political parties have made their final pitches to potential disabled voters on the eve of tomorrow’s general election.
Disability News Service (DNS) asked the Conservatives, the Green party, Labour, the Liberal Democrats, Plaid Cymru and the SNP to explain in just 150 words why disabled people should vote for their party.
Only Plaid Cymru failed to respond in time for the deadline.
All five responses are reproduced below, in full (other than adjustments for DNS editorial style), in the order they were received.
The Liberal Democrats said: “For too many people, things aren’t working as they should.
“Disabled people are being let down by the welfare system, police-recorded hate crimes against disabled people have recently risen sharply, and the disability pay gap is being ignored by the Conservatives.
“Liberal Democrats want to build a brighter future for everyone who is disabled.
“That is why we are promising to reverse cuts to ESA [employment and support allowance] for the work-related activity group and scrap work capability assessments.
“We would replace them with a new system that is run by local authorities and is based on real-world tests.
“Liberal Democrats will also make all hate crimes aggravated offences and help the police identify and prevent them.
“We will reinstate the Independent Living Fund and increase accessibility of public places and transport.
“And we will tackle the pay gap by requiring all large companies to monitor and publish data on disability pay gaps.”
For Labour, Marsha De Cordova, shadow minister for disabled people, said: “The treatment of disabled people by the Conservatives, and their former Liberal Democratic coalition partners, has been nothing short of shameful.
“Devastating cuts to social security support and social care have created a hostile environment for disabled people.
“Labour is the only party with a manifesto developed by and for disabled people.
“Breaking Down Barriers has been developed according to the principle of ‘nothing about you without you’. In government, Labour will embody that principle.
“We’ll ensure that disabled people are empowered to participate fully and equally in society.
“Labour will incorporate the UN’s Convention on the Rights of Disabled People into law, ensuring that all disabled people have access to education, employment, housing, justice, transport and the right to live independently.
“We will scrap universal credit and create a social security system that provides people with dignity and respect.
“Labour is on your side. Together we can build a more just and equal society.”
The SNP said: “Disabled people can’t afford another five years of the Tories.
“Every SNP MP will fight for a real end to austerity and a fairer deal for disabled people.
“With the limited powers we have in Scotland, we’re building a social security system built on dignity and respect which will significantly reduce face-to-face assessments for disability benefits.
“The SNP is committed to delivering fair work for all and the Scottish government is working to halve the disability employment gap by 2030.
“Through Fair Start we are also helping unemployed disabled people into work, and unlike the Tories, don’t ever use punitive benefit sanctions.
“Voters in Scotland could make the difference – and we could deny Boris Johnson a majority.
“Only the SNP can beat the Tories in Scotland. A vote for the SNP is a vote to escape Brexit and lock Boris Johnson out of power.”
The Conservatives said: “It is core to our beliefs as Conservatives that everyone should be able to fulfil their potential and that government does what it can to remove the barriers disabled people face.
“We have come a long way as a society in the way we support people with disabilities, but we recognise there is much more to do.
“We will start by cutting the number of reassessments that disabled people have to undergo to receive support.
“We will reduce the disability employment gap and we will publish a National Strategy for Disabled People before the end of 2020 that will take a broad approach to the challenges that disabled people face.
“Our record spending on the NHS includes specific measures to ensure disabled people get better quality treatment and can have greater control over their treatment.
“We want to empower disabled people and create a country where their talents and skills are truly recognised.”
The Green party said: “Disabled people should vote Green because we are committed to a fully inclusive society.
“We stood firm against austerity when everyone else compromised.
“We are advocating twice as much investment than any other party, and are the only party that wouldn’t just end austerity, but would reverse it.
“Our universal basic income would include a supplement for people with disabilities, to help restore benefits withdrawn over the past 10 years.
“Our policies are decided democratically by our members and we would extend this principle to decision-making by government and local councils.
“Co-production has massive benefits for people who use services, by making sure they properly meet the needs of those who use them.
“The Greens will encourage true co-production, with disabled people included from the start on decisions and plans about the services that affect them.
“Vote Green to say yes to Europe, and no to the Climate Emergency.”
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