This week the government published its National Strategy for Disabled People. A plan that aims to improve the lives of disabled people.
What's in the National Strategy for Disabled People?
Key elements of the plan include:
- Awareness campaigns to increase people’s understanding of disability, dispel myths and reduce stigma
- Creating more accessible housing, including more adapted and safer homes
- Making transport more accessible. This will include a new national accessibility strategy for railways
- Measures to make the world of work more inclusive and accessible, including improvements to the Disability Confident scheme and Access to Work.
No mention of the costs of being disabled
Responding to the National Disability Strategy, Anastasia Berry, our Policy Manager says: “The Disability Strategy is broad and wide-ranging, but there is one glaring omission – poverty.
A disability strategy with nothing to say about financial support is like a transport strategy with nothing to say about roads.
"Disabled people, including people with MS, have borne the brunt of the last 10 years of austerity, and poverty plagues the lives of many. Yet there is no mention of an increase in the rates of social security which are completely inadequate at their current level. A disability strategy with nothing to say about financial support is like a transport strategy with nothing to say about roads."
Reducing the disability employment gap
Also this week, the Work and Pensions Select Committee have published a report including a series of recommendations for the government to consider which could help to reduce the disability employment gap. The committee is a group of MPs designed to oversee the work of government departments.
In April, we gave oral evidence to the committee as part of its inquiry into the disability employment gap. We told them that understanding MS, and the challenges and barriers it presents, is essential to help people with MS get into and remain in work. Our Ambassador Trishna, who lives with MS, spoke to MPs on the committee about her positive experience of reasonable adjustments in the workplace.
More support and information needed
We’re pleased the committee’s recommendations reflect our recommendations, in particular for more information and support for employers, employees and anyone providing employment support.
This information should include clear guidance about an employer’s legal obligation to provide reasonable adjustments and how to implement them. The committee is also calling for an evaluation of the Disability Confident Scheme, as well as improvements to Access to Work.
Share your experience
We’re holding virtual sessions where MPs can talk to people with MS to understand their experiences and thoughts about employment. And we’re creating a collection of experiences, stories and thoughts from people with MS about employment.
If you’d like to share your experiences of finding work, being in work or leaving work, we would love to hear from you.
Email us at: [email protected]