A new report, based on the views of hundreds of disabled people and organisations, has called on the government to produce a national disability strategy that is “radical and ambitious”.
The report by Disability Rights UK (PDF) follows a three-month engagement campaign aimed at discovering how disabled people want society to change.
Now it wants the government to include recommendations from its We Belong report (pictured) – across five key areas – in its national disability strategy, which will be published this spring.
Among the report’s recommendations are calls for the Equality Act to be extended and made easier for disabled people to enforce, and for the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities to be incorporated into UK law.
Disability Rights UK (DR UK) also calls for the government to ensure that every area has a properly-funded disabled people’s organisations (DPO), alongside “meaningful” and “in-depth” co-production and engagement with DPOs at national and local levels.
Other recommendations include reform of both the benefits and social care systems, for action on accessible housing, and for national and local government and transport organisations to co-produce improvements to public transport with DPOs so that stations, platforms, trains and ticketing systems are made accessible “at a more rapid pace”.
On attitudes to disabled people, the report calls for a new public disability awareness campaign based on the social model of disability, and for disability equality and the social model of disability to be incorporated into the school curriculum.
DR UK also says there should be improved support for disabled people who experience domestic abuse, and stronger laws on disability hate crime.
Kamran Mallick, DR UK’s chief executive, said: “We will share the comments of all who contributed to this project with the government, so it hears the views expressed.
“We ask the government to take bold and radical action to tackle the systemic discrimination and inequality which persist, and to produce an ambitious ground-breaking strategy, which creates a society where we truly belong.”
He added: “It is not enough to tinker with current policies and services, we need radical and ambitious change.”
Last week, other DPOs spoke of their shock and dismay at the government’s failure to engage with them, as the minister for disabled people, Justin Tomlinson, announced a new National Disability Survey, but gave disabled people just four weeks to respond if they wanted their views to influence the strategy.
DR UK has joined those DPOs in criticising the deadline.
Fazilet Hadi, DR UK’s head of policy, said: “It is understandable that engagement has been made more difficult due to the coronavirus crisis, but giving disabled people one month to respond is not remotely acceptable.
“For many of us, information on the survey will take time to reach us, some of us will want to discuss our responses with others, and some of us will require assistance to respond.
“A month just isn’t sufficient to enable disabled people to genuinely influence ground-breaking changes in the way society treats us.”
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