Disability and the built environment: Ministers questioned on Government strategy

01 February 2017

The Women and Equalities Committee questions Ministers on what the Government is doing to ensure homes, buildings and public spaces are accessible to all and what more could be done.


Wednesday 1 February 2017, Room 15, Palace of Westminster

At 9.45am

  • Gavin Barwell MP, Minister of State, Department for Communities and Local Government
  • Bob Ledsome, Deputy Director, Building Regulations and Standards, Department for Communities and Local Government
  • Andrew Jones MP, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Transport

Purpose of the session

In this session, Ministers can expect questions on:

  • what the Government is doing to lead the way on creating a more inclusive built environment
  • how they plan to increase the numbers of accessible, as well as affordable, homes in the forthcoming Housing White Paper and
  • what they are doing to make sure that disabled people don't find themselves excluded from public spaces because their needs have not been considered

Throughout the inquiry, the Committee has heard from disabled people about the barriers that the built environment creates, and their priorities for action. The Committee has also heard from the professionals – the lawyers, planners, access officers, local government representatives, housebuilders and others – to ask what more should be done to make the built environment accessible to all.

Chair's comment

Committee Chair, Maria Miller MP, said:

"The difficulties people face trying to access suitable homes, buildings and public spaces has been a major theme throughout our inquiry. In this session, we want to find out more about the work Government is doing to address these problems.

Key questions we are looking to answer include: is the Government showing sufficient leadership to improve accessibility and inclusivity? Why is there a shortage of accessible housing? How could building regulations be improved? We also intend to raise the concerns we have heard on 'shared spaces' schemes and what is being done to ensure such schemes do not endanger disabled people."

Inquiry background 

The Women and Equalities Committee launched the Disability and the Built Environment inquiry on 10 August 2016. The areas outlined in the terms of reference are:

  • Government policy on and current provision of accessible properties (including homes and commercial premises);
  • The effectiveness of UK legislation, policies and standards on accessibility in the built environment;
  • Design and management of the public realm;
  • The role of designers, architects and built environment specialists in ensuring accessibility and inclusivity;
  • Local involvement in decision-making

Further information

Image: iStockphoto

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