The DWP and its Office for Disability Issues have finally published a response to the UN’s damming report on the rights of disabled people in the UK, over a year after the original report’s publication.
Quietly published yesterday, the initial government response and letter from Sarah Newton, the Minister for Disabled People, Health and Work outlines the government’s “determination” to improve the lives of disabled people in the UK and around the world, with focus on areas like equality, housing, transport and health.
“The UK has achieved a great deal and has been at the forefront of developments in equality and disability rights,” writes Newton in her letter, “but we are clear that more needs to be done. We will continuously develop and deliver real and practical improvements to ensure disabled people have the same opportunities for inclusion as people who are not disabled.”
The UN’s initial scathing report tore apart what it saw as an inconsistent approach by the UK government to protect disabled people’s rights and fully comprehend the scope of its austerity policies. The report was also highly critical of the UK’s benefits system, saying that the UK’s welfare reforms, benefits cuts and sanctions have reduced the standard of living of disabled people, and have an adverse effect on welfare.
However, as Shadow Minister for Disabled People Marsha de Cordova pointed out on Twitter, the response was not nearly as comprehensive as it could have been.
“The response has ignored the UN’s recommendation to conduct an cumulative impact assessment of the Government’s devastating cuts on disabled people or a review of its cruel ESA sanctions regime,” she tweeted.
“As more than half of working age disabled adults in the UK say that they do not receive the social care support that they need, the funding commitment in its response is nowhere near enough to combat the scale of the social care crisis facing disabled people.
“As the Employment Gap and Pay Gap for disabled people stubbornly persists, the Government has not shown any signs of developing further an effective employment policy according to the UN’s recommendation.
“Disappointingly the Government has yet to respond to the UN’s recommendations on 30 other Articles of the CRPD, including those on disabled people’s access to justice and equality and non-discrimination.”
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