Disability Action Plan is launched – and nobody believes a word of it

The verdict: but then, we always knew the Tories’ Disability Action Plan wouldn’t be worth the paper it was written on, didn’t we? [Image by Disability News Service, I believe.]

The Tory government launched its Disability Action Plan on Tuesday, after a 12-week consultation period.

Here is an eloquent response:

This Writer certainly doesn’t believe a Tory government has any interest in changing the lives of sick and/or disabled people for the better.

The Tories have killed far too many such people since 2010 for anybody ever to take such a bald-faced lie seriously.

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But let’s give the Tories the benefit of the doubt and see what other organisations connected with disabled people have to say. Here’s some more background courtesy of Disability News Service:

Disabled people’s organisations have dismissed the government’s new Disability Action Plan as a series of “empty promises” that fail to address the “dire situation” disabled people are facing.

The plan, and its 32 “practical actions”, was launched by disability minister Mims Davies on Tuesday… All 32 actions appear to be low or zero budget measures, and there are no striking new policies, and apparently no new legislation or spending commitments before the general election.

The plan is intended to run alongside the longer-term National Disability Strategy, which was heavily-criticised by a cross-party committee of MPs last year.

And here’s the commentary:

Disabled people’s organisations (DPOs) … described it as “weak” and said it failed to address key cost-of-living concerns, while ignoring the need for urgent action in areas such as social care, accessible housing and government reforms that are set to tighten the work capability assessment (WCA).

Rick Burgess, a spokesperson for Greater Manchester Coalition of Disabled People, said: “This is a plan about what non-disabled political actors are willing to offer to disabled people, it is not based in our rights or the social model. It is not what we need, rather it is what a disablist government think they will grudgingly offer.”

(This Writer knows Rick of old; he knows what he’s talking about.)

Svetlana Kotova, director of campaigns and justice at Inclusion London, described the plan as “a list of research, evidence and engagement, either on issues which are not a priority or where solutions have been known for a while.

“At a time when disabled people are struggling to make ends meet, hate crime on the rise, the new punitive welfare reforms are looming, care packages are cut, employers’ attitudes are not improving, when there is a shortage of accessible housing and parents of disabled children have to spend months in arguments and complaints to get minimal support, it is hard to see how any actions in the plan would make a tangible difference where it is most needed.

“We want the government to recognise that making significant improvements in our lives needs ambition and funding. We don’t see any of that in the plan.”

One member of the steering group of Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC) described the document as a “disability inaction plan”.

Linda Burnip, a DPAC co-founder, said it was hard to comment on the action plan because of how little it offered.

She said it offered a “plan for councils to build accessible playgrounds but apparently no extra money for that, nothing about housing, transport, social care, accessibility generally, healthcare, or aids and adaptations people need to live independently”.

Professor Peter Beresford, chair of Shaping Our Lives, said: “This is a government which … expects us to forget its terrible track record and sign up to the empty promises of its latest Disability Action Plan, to build up our hopes and get involved as if it is to be trusted.

“Shaping Our Lives will take the government’s disability prospectus seriously when and only when it begins seriously to address the DPO forum’s programme of demands to secure older and disabled people’s rights.

“Sadly, we seem as far away from that as ever.”

(I know Linda and Peter of old, too; these are the people you should trust when they say what needs to be done – not the Tory government).

Read the DNS article for more if you like; the main point is clear:

This “Disability Inaction Plan” is not worth the paper it was written on or the many weeks (beyond the 12 of the consultation) that it took to prepare. Disable people will continue to suffer.

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