Philip Connolly looks forward to 2014

Tue,7 January 2014

“Where there’s a wheel there’s a Way” – Philip Connolly, DR UK Policy and Communications Manager, looks forward to 2014.

What will 2014 bring. Here are my predictions. Firstly the good news could – potentially - be the abandonment of the bedroom tax as the Government clears the decks for the election to come and seeks to avoid issues that they cannot win on.

Secondly the gauntlet will be thrown down to the opposition on whether it is weak on welfare reform. Consequently we can expect the current review of entitlement to benefits for young people not in employment training and education will rise up the political agenda as will the detail on what the cuts package will look like following the autumn spending review. In addition we can expect more denigration of disabled people as being responsible for their own situation and simply lacking the commitment to work or routine of other members of society.

The good news is Disability Rights UK is out there fighting for the status, opportunities and living standards of disabled people. In 2014 we hope to broaden our relationship with you as we gradually increase our conversations and dialogue with you.

We have just initiated a policy Forum to develop policy with the involvement of members and a Young Person’s network to provide oversight of DR UK’s long term ambition to see tens of thousands of young disabled people get a worthwhile job.

We are holding a series of free events on great approaches to tackling hate crime. In response to the stigmatisation of disabled people we will look to publish research on how money is currently being lost in the financing of back to work support and the consequences this has for the money available to support individual disabled people into work. Yes folks those on benefits are more fair minded than the system that denies them sufficient employment support.

We will also be advancing arguments to Government on how disabled people can contract to obtain their own effective and locally delivered support – and publicising the great work that local Disabled People’s Organisations are doing to show what full participation can mean.

Finally for the moment I will be working to make sure that those who campaign with us will feel better for doing so. In an era when so many people obtain their political news through “Mock the Week” and “Have I Got News Fo You” I leave you with this thought. 

Where there's a wheel there's a way

Best wishes friends and remember, the next time a disabled person asks for help, writing to the Government may be the best help you can offer (after dealing with the immediate need of course).