Dear Prime Minister,
Coronavirus has devastated people's lives, and amongst the hardest hit are the UK’s 14 million disabled people. Almost two thirds of people who have died because of Coronavirus were disabled. And now, with a looming recession and disabled people at the sharp end of poverty, we need the Government to take urgent action.
Months of feeling forgotten is taking its toll. Disabled people and their families have disproportionately faced loneliness and worsening mental health. Shielding may be pausing, but for millions of disabled people there is no pause button on their anxieties.
Before coronavirus, life for disabled people and their families was tough. The Government’s recovery plan has forgotten about disabled people, and risks making their lives even tougher. An equal society shouldn’t treat millions of disabled people as an afterthought.
Earlier this year, you wrote to all government departments instructing them to find ways to address inequalities and make the greatest contribution to the lives of disabled people. It is vital now that government delivers on this ambition.
Economic recovery is key, and disabled people must be included in this. The Government needs to safely support people back into work. The commitment to tackle the disability employment gap set out in the Conservative manifesto must be upheld. For those unable to work, the Government must guarantee a safety net which supports rather than punishes, without fear of ineffective sanctions.
We are calling on the Government to work with us to:
• Factor disabled people’s needs into every plan and change in regulations around the easing of lockdown from the start.
• Prioritise the vital National Disability Strategy. Ensure it provides a clear plan to mitigate existing inequalities the pandemic has further magnified.
It is crucial the Government provides a new deal for disabled people to show they won’t be forgotten in the Government’s recovery plan, and beyond. After enduring months of lockdown, disabled people must not be locked out of society.
Also supported by:
Baroness Jane Campbell
Stephen Timms MP, Chair, Work and Pension Select Committee
Sara Llewellin, CEO, Barrow Cadbury Trust
Kathryn Scott, Director of Policy, British Psychological Society
Diane Lightfoot, Chief Executive, Business Disability Forum
Kamran Mallick, Chief Executive, Disability Rights UK
Phil Lee, Chief Executive, Epilepsy Action
Liz Barclay, Steering Group Chair, Fair by Design
Neil Heslop, Chief Executive, Leonard Cheshire Disability
Paul Farmer, Chief Executive, Mind
Chris James, Director of External Affairs, MND Association
Caroline Stevens, Chief Executive, National Autistic Society
Steve Ford, CEO, Parkinsons UK
Charles Colquhoun, CEO, Thomas Pocklington Trust
Deirdre Costigan, National Officer for Disability Equality, Unison
Anela Anwar, Chief Executive, Zacchaeus 2000 Trust
Alex Brooker, TV Presenter, Journalist and Comedian
Juliette Burton, Performer, Writer and Broadcaster
Ben Elton, Comedian, Author, Playwright, Performer and Scope Patron
Richard Herring, Comedian, Writer, Broadcaster and Scope patron
Lottie Jackson, Journalist
Mark Lane, Garden Designer, Gardeners’ World Presenter
Sophie Morgan, Disability Rights Advocate, Broadcaster, Social Entrepreneur and Scope patron
Georgie Morrell, Comedian, Actor and Writer
Adam Pearson, Actor, Presenter and Disability Campaigner
Christopher Stevens, Journalist
Samantha Renke, Actor, Disability Campaigner and Scope Ambassador
Lee Ridley, Comedian, Disability Campaigner and Scope Ambassador
Shaun Pye, Actor, Comedian and Writer