New coalition will fight to improve equality bill


A new campaigning coalition is set to fight for improvements to the government’s equality bill, and for full civil rights for disabled people.
The agreement to form the new coalition of disabled people – yet to be named – came at a meeting held to discuss the bill, attended by leading figures in the disabled people’s movement and three government officials.
The meeting in London on 5 June was arranged by the Alliance for Inclusive Education, RADAR and the UK’s Disabled People’s Council (UKDPC), with other disabled people’s organisations represented, including People First and the Disabled People’s Direct Action Network, as well as a number of grassroots activists.
The organisers arranged the meeting because they believed disabled people had not been consulted properly about the content of the equality bill.
Caroline Ellis, joint deputy chief executive of RADAR, who attended the meeting, said there was an appetite for a new user-led campaigning force to lobby on the equality bill, but also to fight for the “long-lost promise of full and enforceable civil rights for disabled people”.
She said the atmosphere at the meeting was “buzzy” and “angry”. “There was a lot of passion. It was angry, but channelling that in a positive direction.
“Everyone wants to work together. A lot of people have not had the chance to discuss this bill. We want to work together on this.”
Julie Newman, acting chair of UKDPC, who chaired the meeting, said: “It’s a long time since I saw that much energy.
“What I was really pleased about was there was a real acceptance that disabled people need to know about a bill that is fundamentally going to affect us.”
She added: “I have not seen that level of energy for probably about ten years, since the introduction of the Disability Discrimination Act.”

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