Goal of equality by 2025 is closer, says government


The minister for disabled people has said the government is “moving closer” to its target of achieving equality for disabled people by 2025.

The comment from Jonathan Shaw MP came as the Office for Disability Issues (ODI) published its annual report on the government’s progress towards its goal of equality by 2025.

The report says the government has made “significant progress” during 2009 and now has a “clear map for the road ahead”.

In Roadmap 2025, published alongside the annual report, the ODI lays out a series of measures taken by the government since its Improving the Life Chances of Disabled People report in 2005 set out the vision of equality by 2025.

The Roadmap says the employment rate of disabled people increased from 44.5 per cent in 2005 to 48.4 per cent in 2008.

It also points to the government’s independent living strategy, co-produced with disabled people, and its transforming adult social care strategy, which aims to give people more choice and control over services.

And it says it is investing £370 million in improving access to train stations between 2006 and 2015.

The Roadmap also points to the Aiming High for Disabled Children strategy, which aims to improve services for disabled children and their families.

The Roadmap also lays out the latest steps the government is taking to achieve equality, including spending £370 million to support short breaks for families with disabled children; its new equality bill; its hate crime action plan, published in September; and its pledge to double the access to work budget by 2013.

It also says that hosting a successful Olympic and Paralympic Games in London in 2012 will promote inclusion, positive attitudes and the active participation of disabled people.

The Roadmap also highlights the reform of the blue badge parking system for disabled motorists.

But, more controversially, it says that beginning the transfer of disabled people on incapacity benefit to the new employment and support allowance (ESA) from next year – with “increased work-related support” – will also help achieve equality.

Campaigners have repeatedly warned that only a small proportion of those applying for ESA – currently only available to new claimants – are “passing” the strict new test.

They have raised concerns that too many disabled people are not accessing ESA and are ending up on jobseeker’s allowance, where they do not get tailored support and receive a lower level of benefit.

3 December 2009

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