Thousands of disabled people have told ministers of the significant barriers they face in their daily lives, with only four per cent saying they believe the government provides a “good level of support” to disabled people.
A report on the results of the Disability Unit’s UK Disability Survey has analysed the responses of nearly 14,500 people, including nearly 11,000 disabled people.
The results informed the development of the National Disability Strategy, which was published last week alongside the survey results, and has been criticised as “not fit for purpose” by disabled people’s organisations.
Many of the concerns related to housing, access to public buildings, crime and safety, benefits, social care and transport.
Asked if they agreed that disabled people were able to live full, independent lives, only about a quarter of disabled people (27 per cent) agreed, while half (50 per cent) disagreed.
And asked if disabled people had sufficient financial support to meet their needs, less than four per cent agreed, while more than 82 per cent disagreed.
When asked if the government provided a “good level of support” to disabled people, only five per cent of nearly 11,000 disabled respondents to the question agreed, while more than 80 per cent disagreed.
Nearly half (about 47 per cent) of the disabled people who responded to the question said that it required at least some effort to get in and out of their home, while more than three-fifths (about 63 per cent) said they had difficulty accessing local public buildings at least some of the time.
Another 45 per cent said they always, often or sometimes felt unsafe in their neighbourhood, while nearly three-fifths (58 per cent) said they were sometimes, often or always mistreated because they were disabled.
Of 1,770 disabled people who said they had reported disability-related bullying, harassment or violence, more than two-thirds (69 per cent) said they were dissatisfied or very dissatisfied with the end result of that report.
Asked for the top three things that would make their lives better – as part of one of the few sections of the survey where they were allowed to put their answers in their own words – many disabled people mentioned improvements to financial support, accessible housing, the benefits system, access to public spaces and buildings, public transport, access to social care and healthcare, and better use of reasonable adjustments by employers.
Many disabled people also called for an improvement in the government’s understanding of disability and disabled people’s needs.
In another section that allowed respondents to put their concerns in their own words, one disabled person said: “The employment and discrimination laws are okay, but the consequences of breaking them are not sufficiently significant to prevent unscrupulous employers from breaking them: especially bigger businesses that practically can bully disabled staff.”
And in a section asking respondents to suggest their own solutions for removing barriers, one disabled person said: “There needs to be accountability, meaning enforcement of the Equality Act.
“Employers need to be held to account better in their provision of reasonable adjustments, as do businesses.”
Picture: A British Sign Language interpreter translates government commentary on its new National Disability Strategy
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