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Government announces plans for a National Disability Strategy

20 December 2019

Included in yesterday’s Queens Speech were several Government policy plans that will impact on disabled people.

In announcing a new National Disability Strategy, the Government said:

“We want to transform the lives of disabled people, ensuring they have access to opportunities and are able to achieve their potential. We will publish a National Strategy for Disabled People in 2020 to ensure disabled people can lead a life of opportunity and fulfilment. Our strategy will be ambitious, supporting disabled people in all aspects and phases of their life.

The strategy will set out practical proposals on the issues that matter most to disabled people and we will use all the levers of Government to support disabled people to achieve their potential.

The strategy, to be developed with disabled people, disability organisations and charities, will include housing, education & transport.

In addition, the Government said that:

“The benefits aspects of the National Disability Strategy will be considered in a Green Paper and will consider how we can ensure the benefits system and wider DWP support can best help disabled people.

The consultation “health is everyone’s business” will set out measures to encourage employers to play their role in retaining disabled people and people with health conditions in the workplace. We will be bringing forward detailed proposals later next year in light of the consultation feedback.”

Other announcements included:

  • a minimum award length for PIP is also being introduced to ensure no one will be reassessed for at least 18 months from their last review, unless they tell the DWP that their needs have changed;
  • a renewed commitment to reduce the disability employment gap with the goal to see an increase of 1 million disabled people in work between 2017 and 2027;
  • detailed measures to be set out in the New Year to encourage employers to play their role in retaining disabled people and people with health conditions in the workplace;
  • making it easier for people with learning disabilities and autism to be discharged from hospital and improve how they are treated in law as well as legislating so that patients suffering from mental health conditions, including anxiety or depression, have greater control over their treatment and receive the dignity and respect they deserve; and
  • an end unfair hospital car parking charges by making parking free for those in greatest need, including disabled people.

The Queen’s Speech also included only a brief mention on social care reform and one that completely lacked any detail:

“My ministers will seek cross-party consensus on proposals for long term reform of social care. They will ensure that the social care system provides everyone with the dignity and security they deserve and that no one who needs care has to sell their home to pay for it.”

For more information see Queen's Speech 2019: background briefing notes @ www.gov.uk