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Here’s the gist:

Now, some substance, courtesy of The Guardian:

The UK government is failing to uphold disabled people’s rights across a range of areas from education, work and housing to health, transport and social security, a UN inquiry has found.

The UN committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities examined the government’s progress in fulfilling its commitments to the UN convention on disabled people’s rights, to which the UK has been a signatory since 2007.

Its report concludes that the UK has not done enough to ensure the convention – which enshrines the rights of disabled people to live independently, to work and to enjoy social protection without discrimination – is reflected in UK law and policy.

It is scathing of the UK government’s inconsistent and patchy approach to protecting disability rights and its failure to audit the impact of its austerity policies on disabled people.

It says ministers have failed to show that measures will be in place to protect disability rights when the UK leaves the European Union.

Areas of concern highlighted by the report, which contains more than 60 recommendations for the UK government, include:

  • The rising numbers of disabled children educated in segregated “special schools” in the UK. The report calls for legislation to ensure mainstream schools provide “real inclusion” for disabled children.
  • High levels of poverty for disabled people and their families and reduced standards of living as result of multiple welfare reforms and benefit cuts. It calls for a review of benefit sanctions, which it says have a detrimental effect on recipients.
  • The failure of the UK government to recognise the rights of disabled people to live independently in the community. It calls on ministers to provide sufficient resources to support disabled people to live at home.

In November the same UN committee issued a scathing report on austerity policies pursued by the UK government in welfare and social care, which it described as “systematic violations” of the rights of people with disabilities. The government dismissed that report as patronising and offensive.

Debbie Abrahams, Shadow Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, responded to the committee’s observations as follows:

“The UN Committee, in making such a high number of recommendations to a nation state, has found that this Tory government is still failing sick and disabled people. Their damning report highlights what many disabled people already know to be true, that they are being forced to bear the brunt of failed Tory austerity policies.  The Committee also expressed concerns about future rights for disabled people after Brexit.

“This confirms what Labour has been saying all along, that the lack of progress on all Convention articles, including cruel changes to social security and the punitive sanctions regime, are causing real misery for sick and disabled people.

“Labour will transform our social security system in partnership with disabled people to ensure that, like our NHS, it is there for us all in our time of need.  The next Labour Government will incorporate the UN CRPD fully into UK law and immediately reverse the PIP regulations, as called for by the UN.”

What’s the betting the Tories dismiss this report as “patronising and offensive” too?


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