Today, the Government has published its National Disability Strategy which includes a set of commitments that each department will complete over the next year.
The Government says its vision is to transform the everyday lives of disabled people by achieving meaningful change and improving the physical and social environments across all sectors of society. It believes the Strategy is the first step to achieving this.
The Strategy contains approximately 120 actions on everything from Changing Places toilets, employment, transport, public services, shopping and technology to leisure and arts.
The Strategy is based on findings from The UK Disability Survey which launched in January 2021 and ran until April. Thousands of disabled people and their families responded to the survey, however we know that many people have had serious concerns about the content of the questions and the way they were presented.
Catherine Woodhead, CEO of Muscular Dystrophy UK, said:
By using the term ‘National Disability Strategy’ the Government has given the impression that this document is a long-term vision for how disabled people’s lives will be transformed. However, there are no transformative plans to overcome the vast inequalities that the Government has acknowledged disabled people experience on a daily basis. Many of the actions and commitments are very welcome and could improve the lives of disabled people. We are pleased to be working with the Government to help deliver its £30m fund to install Changing Places toilets in hundreds of existing buildings. We are also pleased to see the commitment to ensure companies report workplace disability figures as well as actions to improve public transport. It is vital these – and other commitments – are delivered in full and Muscular Dystrophy UK will continue to hold the Government to account. Finally, we hope that future UK National Disability Survey questions and language used to ask them are reviewed in full, as well as how the surveys are promoted to disabled people.