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Government continues to fail Disabled election candidates

25 March 2021

Questions have been asked this week in the House of Lords about why there isn’t a Government fund to support the reasonable adjustments of Disabled election candidates. The Government continues to argue that it is the responsibility of political parties, ignoring the fact that the structures and organisation of such parties don’t always provide the necessary support, and that candidates may stand independent of political parties.

DR UK’s Head of Policy Fazilet Hadi said: “Given the appallingly low representation of Disabled people in political office, the re-introduction of a fund that supports reasonable adjustments is a modest step to take. The Government could even ask political parties to refund the expenses, taking away the negotiation from individual Disabled candidates.”

The Government has failed to release two key reports, one evaluating the Enable Fund, which did provide support for reasonable adjustments, and the other outlining the barriers Disabled people face in seeking political office.

This week, Disability Rights UK has again written to the Minister for Disabled People, Justin Tomlinson, asking for a permanent fund to be re-introduced .

DR UK CEO Kamran Mallick said: “The voices of Disabled people need to be heard in Parliament and across local government. We make up 21% of the population and as the pandemic has shown, we are often overlooked or ignored.

“A fund which meets the reasonable adjustments of standing for elected office, where people can apply for mobility or communication support, is a very modest step and should be part of a wider plan with concerted commitment and effort to increase the number of Disabled people in political office.”