This Government’s vision for disabled people is to create a society that works for everyone, where all can participate fully, and be included. This vision aligns with the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (the Convention), which protects and promotes the rights of disabled people.
In the UK everyone’s rights are protected, including the rights of disabled people. The Government is always making improvements that reflect the intent of the Convention. The UK has achieved a great deal and has been at the forefront of developments in equality and disability rights. But we are clear that more needs to be done. We are delivering improvements to ensure disabled people have the same opportunities for inclusion as people who are not disabled.
Our newly created Inter-Ministerial Group on Disability and Society will drive forward co-ordinated action across Government to jointly tackle barriers to disabled people’s full participation and inclusion in society, ensuring we drive through progress against the implementation of the Convention. And we are strengthening our engagement with disabled people through constructive dialogue and collaboration.
Today I will place a copy of the report and letter that we have submitted to the UN outlining the UK’s progress on protecting the rights of disabled people in a number of areas as set out under the Convention in the House Library. Last year the UN reviewed the UK’s implementation of the Convention, and made a number of recommendations, asking us to respond to some of those within 12 months. This is a standard process for signatories. The recommendations covered independent living and being included in the community, work and employment and adequate standard of living and social protection, as well the UN’s Optional Protocol inquiry that we responded to in 2016.
The response describes positive actions that we are taking in each of these areas, including:
- We have made available a further £9.4bn funding for social care in England between 2017/18 and 2018/19 to ensure that councils can increase the capacity of the social care system – an 8% real terms increase over the current spending review period (2016/17 to 2019/20);
- We are supporting more people whose health affects the way they do their job through Access to Work – over 25,000 people in 2016/17, an 8% increase on 2015/16, spending £104m, up from £96m. We also introduced a new Tech Fund under Access to Work to help disabled people to benefit from the latest advances in assistive technology; and
- We will be spending an estimated £54bn in 2018/19 on benefits to support disabled people and those with long term health conditions, up from £44.7bn in 2010/11 – the highest ever.
We have made great progress, but there is always more we can do. Disabled people still face barriers to full inclusion, and we will continue to break these down, working with disabled people, the public, private and third sectors until everyone can participate in their community and achieve their aspirations.
This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: