The Prime Minister is launching a new package of measures in a bid to reduce the injustices and barriers that many disabled people face, whether at work or in the community. The scheme comes after data found that around 20% of working age individuals have a disability. As well as proposed new measures, the Prime Minister has also established a cross-government disability team.
Some of the measures that the government will introduce is better accessibility standards in new housing. The plan is to create 300,000 accessible and adaptable homes every year. Furthermore, the government will issue guidance to local authorities on how to improve the standards for accessible housing.
As well as this, measures include improved workplace support and a new system for statutory sick pay. There will be a consultation on how to improve sick pay with suggestions, including a flexible policy to encourage a phased return to work or providing a rebate for small to medium-sized businesses.
The new team that will implement the measures will incorporate the Office for Disability Issues, Government Equalities Office and Race Disparity Unit. All of these units will become apart of the new Equalities Hub.
The focus of the team will be to work with people with disabilities as well as organisations and charities to develop an improved approach and better changes to help reduce barriers that people with disabilities face. The team will work with a diverse mix of people to take their views and experiences into consideration. The department will then create a new policy based on these views with additional measures set out later in the year.
The Prime Minister, Theresa May said: “We all have a crucial role – businesses, government and civil society – in working together to ensure that disabled people get the support they need and go as far as their talents can take them.”
The Chief Executive of charity Scope adds; “We know that half of disabled people feel excluded from society, and are too often shut out of work. Life also costs more if you are disabled, and Scope research shows that these costs add up to on average £583 a month.
We have long called for a concerted effort from the government to improve the lives of disabled people in this country. It is therefore positive to see recognition from government that a joined-up approach is needed and necessary.”