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Disability Rights UK seeks industrial strategy that includes disabled people

03 March 2017

The Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) has issued a consultation on an industrial strategy.

The consultation runs until April 17th. There are ten pillars that the draft strategy is built upon and these can be read on page 11 of the document.

Why are we responding to this consultation?

Firstly, because this consultation is the basis of the Government’s economic policy and addresses how the Government wishes to grow the economy and generate new jobs.

Secondly, even the draft commits the Government to spending billions of pounds particularly on research and development.

Thirdly, it offers the opportunity to engage with the demand side of the economy and evaluate whether disabled people will be helped or not.

Our concerns

The Prime Minister expressed her vision of a society that worked for everyone. At present the industrial strategy doesn’t offer this vision; there is no mention of race, gender, disability/disabled people or equalities. The wish to equalise across regions is expressed but not across people or specific demographic groups.

In the context of what is happening to reductions in welfare spending (e.g. the ESA WRAG cut) and what is happening in back to work support (the forthcoming Health and Work Programme will have around a quarter of the spend formerly spent on disabled people in the Work Programme and Work choice, both due to end in April) it is vital that disabled people are not excluded from the economic policy designed to grow businesses and generate jobs – the industrial strategy. This is however the situation at present.

Our response

There are 38 questions in the industrial strategy and clearly many are outside of the scope of our charity such as questions on attracting inward investment. However, there are sections that we would wish to send comments in that have been informed by your own views.

These sections include the following: investing in science, research and innovation, developing skills, supporting businesses to start and grow, improving procurement and “driving growth across the whole country”.

In addition, we would wish to see the UK become a world leader in assistive technology and potentially create new institutions to achieve our aims or at least improve the performance of existing institutions such as Innovate UK and the Business Bank.

Our own consultation

In addition to the questions asked by BEIS to which we ask if you can send us your thoughts (numbering the question to which you are responding) by March 27th 2017 we invite your responses to the following questions:

 

  1. What would you most like to see Government do to ensure disabled people have the skills they need to participate fully in the economy? (You may want to include further and higher education; apprenticeships; traineeships; or other)
  2. What would you most like to see Government do to encourage disabled people to be entrepreneurs, to set up businesses and easily to be self-employed?
  3. How can we change the world of work so that it fits people, rather than people having to fit into the world of work as it is now?
  4. How can disabled people lead the goals of the industrial strategy?
  5. What new organisations/institutions are required to support disabled people to become economically active where appropriate or how should existing organisations/institutions be improved?
  6. How should disabled people ensure that it is not possible to plan the future of the economy without considering our own needs and aspirations?

Responding to us

Please can you send us your comments by March 27th 2017 so that we can assimilate them into one response. Please can you indicate whether you are happy to be quoted on anything you tell us.

Please can you reply via email to Philip.connolly@disabilityrightsuk.org and put industrial strategy in your subject box. If you don’t have email please can you write to me c/o Disability Rights UK, Can Mezzanine, 49-51 East Road, London, N1 6AH.