Statement from Inclusion Gloucestershire and Barnwood Trust
We welcome the National Disability Strategy as a starting point to address some of the long-standing inequalities and barriers that disabled people face every day. Much work will be required to make the actions contained within a reality, particularly in the context of inequalities in the UK being such that disabled people are six times more likely to die of Coronavirus than non-disabled people. As the strategy states, ‘the true measure of this strategy’s success will be whether disabled people feel their lives have improved’.
We support the government’s commitment to:
- enhanced engagement (with a longer term vision of putting disabled people at the centre of making plans and running services),
- equality of opportunity and
- more choice and control for disabled people.
However, the ambition of enhanced engagement does not go far enough and a true commitment towards co-production is needed to ensure that those who face disabling barriers are at the centre of local, national and international change. We would also like to see greater involvement of small local charities and organisations in the engagement activities of the future. We will also be interested to see detailed analysis of the data that has informed the strategy, as it is unclear to what extent the content of the strategy corresponds with the concerns of the disabled people who took part in the consultation stage.
It is uncomfortable to reflect on the sobering list of barriers that disabled people face which have not already been addressed, such as making public transport accessible, enabling disabled people to effectively take part in elections and juries, and addressing barriers to work.
All of the priorities set out in the strategy will require resources, and the funds identified are not enough to truly transform life for disabled people. Greater consideration and commitment will be needed of financial and non-financial resources, as well as reviews of processes to ensure adequate and timely resourcing. Without this, progress on these issues will continue to stagnate.
We are concerned that many of the areas in the strategy are long standing issues that will need more than cross government joint work to really progress.
We encourage the government to be more ambitious with the strategy in coming years, on behalf of the 14 million disabled people in the UK. We would like to see full plans concerning accessibility audits and options to reduce the frequency of PIP assessments which result in action and commitment to change. We welcome the commitment to annual reporting and hope that this will also include a review of priorities so more ambitious aspirations can be realised.
Having formed a strategic partnership earlier this year, Inclusion Gloucestershire and Barnwood Trust will soon be sharing our own insights based on recent research on opportunities and challenges for disabled people in Gloucestershire, and exploring how these relate to the priorities within the National Disability Strategy. We look forward to discussing these with people across Gloucestershire over the coming months.
For an easy read version of this statement please click here.