Today marks the UN International Day of Disabled Persons. This day gives us an opportunity to promote the rights and wellbeing of disabled people and raise awareness of the challenges disabled people still face in modern society.
The theme of this year’s celebration is Fighting for rights in the post-Covid era. The pandemic has shone a light on the stark inequalities disabled people face.
While the Government temporarily increased Universal Credit payments during the pandemic, this was not extended to Employment and Support Allowance and Job Seeker’s Allowance. Almost two million ill and disabled people did not receive any additional support, despite the fact that disabled people on average face additional costs of £583 per month.
After two long years of delay, the Government finally published its long-awaited National Strategy for Disabled People earlier this year. Instead of presenting a bold plan for the future, this strategy delivered a delayed list of incoherent announcements. It announced a pitiful £4 million of extra money for disabled people. This does not go anywhere near far enough and equates to under £30 per disabled person in the UK.
I believe disabled people deserve better than this Government.
The Labour Party believes in human rights and equality for disabled people and we are committed to incorporating the UN Convention on the Rights of Disabled Persons into British law. This would mean eliminating disability discrimination, enabling disabled people to live independently in the community, ensuring an inclusive education system, and ensuring disabled people are protected from all forms of exploitation, violence and abuse.