New National Disability Strategy launches
28 Jul 2021 09:51 AM
More accessible housing, easier commuting and better job prospects are set to become reality for millions of disabled people in the UK through actions set out in the government’s National Disability Strategy.
[National Disability Strategy Foreword video](National Disability Strategy - YouTube
- Disabled people set to benefit from plans to upgrade job support and opportunities, housing and transport as part of a new National Disability Strategy
- Improving accessibility of homes, £300m investment in support for children with special educational needs and disabilities in schools and an online work passport to help disabled students move seamlessly from education to work
- Plans to consult on disability workforce reporting for businesses with more than 250 staff
The strategy sets out 100 immediate commitments supported by £1.6bn of funding alongside an ambitious agenda for future reform.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said:
Just as our talented Paralympians are set to take the stage in Tokyo next month, at home we are harnessing that same ambition and spirit, to build a better and fairer life for all disabled people living in the UK.
Our new National Disability Strategy is a clear plan – from giving disabled people the best start in school to unlocking equal job opportunities, this strategy sets us on a path to improve their everyday lives.
Work and Pensions Secretary of State Thérèse Coffey said:
The result of an unprecedented endeavour across government, this national strategy will help level up opportunity and improve the everyday experience of disabled people, whether that is at home; travelling on public transport; using the local high street or going online; enjoying culture, the arts or the great outdoors; and exercising civic roles like jury service and voting.
It sets out the practical actions we will take now, alongside clear accountability for delivering them, as well as renewing our ambition to do even more as we build back fairer.
The strategy is focused on improving inclusion in the workplace, tackling the disability employment gap – currently at 28.6% - and making sure children with special educational needs and disabilities are at the heart of the strategy, including:
- Consulting on introducing workforce reporting for businesses with more than 250 staff on the number of disabled people. A move designed to improve inclusive practice across the UK’s biggest employers and builds on existing gender reporting requirements
- Increasing the number of disabled people employed by MI5, MI6, GCHQ, the Reservists and the civilian military by 2030. MI6 has set an interim target of 9% by 2025.
- Launching a new online advice hub available to both disabled people and employers, which provides information and advice on disability discrimination in the workplace, flexible working and rights and obligations around reasonable adjustments. For the first time, the one stop shop will make it easier for disabled people to navigate the workplace.
- Piloting an Access to Work Adjustments Passport to help smooth the transition into employment and support people changing jobs. Pilots will be taking place this year focussing on young people leaving education and veterans leaving the armed forces. The Adjustments Passport will capture the in-work support needs of the individual and empower them to have confident discussions about adjustments with employers. It will also set an expectation with the employer that specialist aids and appliances move when their employee progresses in work or moves post.
- Investing £300 million to create places, improve existing provision in schools and make accessibility adaptations for children and young people with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities.
To make sure disabled people can live in homes adapted to their needs, we’re taking action to:
- Raise the accessibility requirements for new homes and adapt existing homes using the £573 million Disabled Facilities Grant to make changes like widening doors, installing ramps, fitting stair lifts or installing a downstairs bathroom.
- Mandating that 10% of homes built through the £11.5 billion Affordable Homes Programme 2021-26 will be for supported housing, boosting availability of good homes for those with additional needs. This target is designed to make more homes available to people with additional needs.
The strategy outlines new technology making rail journeys easier and more accessible including:
- Enabling disabled passengers to contact staff from their seat on the train with the new support in place by end of March 2022, with DfT supporting innovative projects that will improve communication for disabled passengers and others with reduced mobility on rail services. Projects will be supported with between £50k and £400k and will use new technology to make using the railways easier and more accessible.
The Disability Strategy also covers a range of other areas including access to justice, culture and the arts. It marks the first cross-government endeavour to improve disabled people’s everyday lives with legislation, policy and funding from across all corners of government.
Minister for Disabled People Justin Tomlinson said:
For the first time, we have real cross-government focus, with clearly set out priorities and aims.
We are absolutely committed to putting disabled people at the heart of government policy making and service delivery. Their voices, insights and experiences are central to this strategy and our future approach. By engaging disabled people, their families, carers and organisations, collectively we will deliver real and lasting change.
That’s empowered us to focus on the things disabled people tell us are most important to them, and crucially they’ll be able to hold us to account as we deliver real and lasting change.
- Findings from the UK Disability Survey which had over 14,000 respondents showed many disabled people feel held back in their everyday lives by the negative attitudes of others, ranging from awkwardness and misguided empathy to outright hostility; by poorly designed homes, transport infrastructure, and public buildings and facilities or by a lack of support at school and at work.
- A multi-year data programme to improve the availability, quality and relevance of information which will drive policy making across government. This will include regular disability surveys and public perception surveys due to launch by January 2022.
- The strategy builds on the Disability Discrimination Act which enshrined protections for disabled people when it comes to employment, transport, education and provision of goods and services.
- All commitments are backed by the personal drive of the UK government department’s Ministerial Disability Champion and progress will be reported on every 12 months.