UK government’s defence of its record on disability: disingenuous – and debunked

A cartoonist’s view of government sickness and disability assessments [Illustration: Andrzej Krauze].

This Site is grateful to the Disability News Service for its coverage of the UK government’s attempt to defend its record on disability before a United Nations committee.

Despite the fact that thousands of disabled people have died as a result of Conservative government policies, the subject seems less worthy of discussion by the mainstream media than whether Nike’s new design for the England football kit is acceptable.

Perhaps the media silence is because TV companies and newspapers have done practically nothing to hold the government to account over the deaths since This Writer’s Freedom of Information request on the thousands of people who died after being found fit for work by the Tory Work Capability Assessments hit front pages – nine years ago.

Buy Cruel Britannia in print here. Buy the Cruel Britannia ebook here. Or just click on the image!

And the government’s evidence let it down badly, according to DNS.

The UK government’s lead representative in Geneva, Alexandra Gowlland, deputy director of the Disability Unit, listed what the government sees as its main achievements since being found by the UN to be guilty of “grave and systematic violations” of the disability rights convention. Here’s how DNS debunked her claims:

Gowlland pointed … to a 2021 white paper published by the Department of Health and Social Care, People at the Heart of Care, with its “10 year vision for adult social care”, and claimed the government wanted “everyone to access high quality care that enables choice, control, and independence”.

But … just two days later, the Commons public accounts committee was concluding that the UK government was “falling short” on its promise to “fix the crisis in social care”, as “chronic understaffing, rising waiting lists and patchwork funding place sustained pressure on local authorities”.

Gowlland also failed to mention to the UN committee that research by disabled campaigners has shown how tens of thousands of disabled people across England have been left in debt because they cannot pay their care charges.

The government also tried to take credit for two “landmark” pieces of legislation, the British Sign Language Act and the Down Syndrome Act, both of which were private members’ bills eventually supported by the government but were also criticised for failing to offer any strong new rights.

She also highlighted the government’s National Disability Strategy, which she described as “ambitious and comprehensive”, and the more recent Disability Action Plan, which have both been heavily criticised by disabled people’s organisations for their lack of any co-production and for being full of empty promises.

Gowlland mentioned the Transforming Support white paper, published last spring by the Department for Work and Pensions and which disabled people’s organisations have described as not fit for purpose.

On disability hate crime – something which she said was “completely unacceptable” – she highlighted awareness campaigns in 2018 and 2019, but failed to mention the government’s repeated failure to introduce tougher laws, as recommended by the Law Commission more than two years ago.

Gowlland also pointed to new laws from 2022 that allowed Deaf jurors to be assisted by British Sign Language interpreters in the jury deliberation room, without mentioning that the government had only acted after a judicial review of its failure to remove a ban and more than two decades of campaigning by Deaf activists.

You can read DNS‘s coverage of disabled people’s organisations’ response to the government’s claims here.

And the site’s coverage of what the United Nations’ representative said about the UK government’s policies on disability since 2016 is here.

Source: MPs undermine key government claim, days after it defended its record at the UN – Disability News Service

Vox Political needs your help!
If you want to support this site
but don’t want to give your money to advertisers)
you can make a one-off donation here:

Donate Button with Credit Cards

Be among the first to know what’s going on! Here are the ways to manage it:

1) Register with us by clicking on ‘Subscribe’ (in the right margin). You can then receive notifications of every new article that is posted here.

2) Follow VP on Twitter @VoxPolitical

3) Like the Facebook page at

Join the Vox Political Facebook page.

4) You could even make Vox Political your homepage at

5) Join the uPopulus group at

6) Join the MeWe page at

7) Feel free to comment!

And do share with your family and friends – so they don’t miss out!

If you have appreciated this article, don’t forget to share it using the buttons at the bottom of this page. Politics is about everybody – so let’s try to get everybody involved!

Buy Vox Political books so we can continue
fighting for the facts.

Cruel Britannia is available
in either print or eBook format here:

HWG PrintHWG eBook

The Livingstone Presumption is available
in either print or eBook format here:

HWG PrintHWG eBook

Health Warning: Government! is now available
in either print or eBook format here:

HWG PrintHWG eBook

The first collection, Strong Words and Hard Times,
is still available in either print or eBook format here:


One Comment

  1. oeggame1 March 22, 2024 at 6:26 pm - Reply

    Aktion T4 rolling along with out much of a ado

Leave A Comment