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Westminster Hall debate on Disability inaccessible

15 October 2020

On Thursday, 15 October 2020, MPs held a debate on disability. The debate was requested by Dr Lisa Cameron MP, the Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Disability.

The tragic backdrop to the debate is that 59% of all coronavirus deaths between March and July were disabled people. MPs from all political parties, raised the challenges being experienced by disabled people and asked the government to come forward with plans to address them.

Issues raised included: maintaining social care and the need to review the easements under the Coronavirus Act; the importance of support for children with Special Education Needs and Disability; improvements to the benefits system including extending the £20 per week uprating to Employment and Support Allowance; improved communication for people with hearing and visual impairments and learning disabilities; better public awareness of face covering exemptions;  and improved support to gain and retain employment.

The debate concluded with the Minister for Disabled People, Justin Tomlinson, expressing the government’s commitment to disabled people.  The Minister said that he was responsible for the activities within the Department of Work and Pensions and for the Disability Unit within the Cabinet Office. He said that a Green Paper on Benefits would be produced at the end of this year and that a Disability Strategy would be published.

Fazilet Hadi, DR UK Head of Policy said: “Whilst it is heartening to hear that some MPs understand the devastating impact that Coronavirus and its economic and social consequences are having on disabled people, the debate didn’t inspire confidence that the government would take action.

“The fact that the Shadow Minister for Disabled People, who is herself disabled, couldn’t attend the Debate, as she wasn’t enabled to join the meeting virtually underlines how far we have to go to achieve disability equality .”   

View the debate here: https://www.parliamentlive.tv/Event/Index/769db23b-59f8-4ee9-9ae2-9c40799e6361