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Progress on disability rights in UK hampered by government inaction

09 October 2018

Progress on disability rights in the United Kingdom: UK Independent Mechanism (UKIM) update report to the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

Read Guardian article

Read UKIM report to the UN committee

This report gives an update on the steps taken by the UK governments to act on recommendations from the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities to improve the lives of disabled people in the UK.

It notes the progress that has been made by UK governments, as well as the areas where improvement is still needed.

The report finds that the:

“UK has taken only limited steps to address the concerns and recommendations of the CRPD Committee. UKIM is disappointed that the UK governments have not seized on this important opportunity to reflect on and progress disability rights. We are concerned by the lack of a prompt response to the CRPD Committee’s recommendations. In particular, 12 months on, there is no comprehensive UK-wide strategy demonstrating how the UK will implement the CRPD Committee’s recommendations. There has also been continued reluctance from the UK Government to accept the conclusions of the CRPD Committee’s inquiry report on the impact of the UK Government’s policies on the rights of disabled people.”

The report contains extensive recommendations to address this, including reform of the work capability assessment:

  • to offer a more flexible, personalised approach to providing support to unemployed disabled people, including those with the greatest needs and fluctuating conditions.

  • the focus should be on identifying work potential and the types of adjustments and support that could remove barriers to individuals accessing and staying in work. This should be separate from any financial assessment.

  • Financial support for people unable to work, or where there are inadequate adjustments or personalised support in place, should not be conditional on actions linked to job -seeking or subject to benefit sanctions

Commenting on the report, Disability Rights UK CEO Kamran Mallick says

“Any progress made through government initiatives is immediately counterbalanced by a swathe of cuts elsewhere. Help with employment is of little use if people are unable to get to work because their mobility benefits have been taken away.”

About UKIM

UKIM is made up of the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC), the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland (ECNI), the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission (NIHRC) and the Scottish Human Rights Commission (SHRC). Together, all four organisations are tasked, by the government, with promoting, protecting and monitoring implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.