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Actions paused in Government’s Disability Strategy

07 September 2022

In January 2022, the High Court declared that the National Disability Strategy was unlawful because the UK Disability Survey, which informed it, was not deemed to be "consultation". The Secretary of State for Work and Pensions has sought permission to appeal the High Court's decision, and the Court of Appeal's ruling on whether permission to appeal is granted is awaited.

To comply with the High Court's declaration pending the outcome of the appeal, the Government has paused the delivery, implementation and communication of some policies, activities, and actions that are contained in the Strategy.

Further to the written ministerial statement laid on 13 June, more information is now available. Of over 100 policies in the strategy, 14 have been paused. A full list of these policies is as follows:

• BEIS will publish proposals to ensure that every disabled person who wants to start a business has the opportunity to do so.

• BEIS and the Cabinet Office will set up an Extra Costs Taskforce, bringing together disabled people, regulators and businesses, to better understand the extra costs faced by disabled people, including how this breaks down for different impairments - by summer 2022.

• DWP will work with the Disability Confident Professional Advisers Group (PAG) and the Business Leaders Group this year to review and strengthen levels 2 and 3 of the scheme, to support employers to increase disabled people's employment opportunities.

• DCMS will build the evidence base about the nature and scale of the inaccessibility of private sector websites, and explore how the government can effectively intervene including possible legislative options.

• MOD will explore how to increase opportunities for disabled people to serve as part of the Armed Forces reserves by the end of 2023, including guaranteeing interviews for disabled reservists who meet the minimum requirements when recruiting for those roles.

• DHSC will establish a new disability data working group in 2021 to look at health and social care datasets and address priority areas where there are gaps in the data.

• DU will publish an annual report which summarises the progress we have made in implementing the strategy.

• DU will oversee the implementation of the 5 elements featured in the strategy and report on progress.

• By summer 2022 the Disability Unit will publish, following engagement with disabled people, a set of indicators and a dashboard to track the impact of the National Disability Strategy.

• DU will review the way the UK government engages with disabled people, in discussion with disabled people, disabled people's organisations and charities.

• The Disability Unit will invest up to £1 million in 2021 to 2022 to develop a new Centre for Assistive and Accessible Technology, reporting on progress by summer 2022.

• Cabinet Office will consult on workforce reporting on disability for large employers, exploring voluntary and mandated workplace transparency, and publish a set of next steps.

• Cabinet Office will appoint a Disability Crown Representative to help unlock the innovation and economic benefits of disability inclusion through the government's commercial activities.

• Cabinet Office will consider how we can best support those standing for public office and those who hold public office.

Commenting on the above statement from the Disability Unit, Kamran Mallick, CEO of Disability Rights UK said:

"Rather than the Secretary of State appealing the High Court ruling, it would be more productive for the Government to work with Disabled People's Organisations to co-produce a new Strategy, truly based on the ambition to fully include us in society. The cost of living crisis is having a devastating impact on millions of Disabled people and failing to drive forward with a powerful Disability Strategy is worsening the lives of Disabled people. It is far from clear why some of the actions have been paused, as they are departmental actions that could have been undertaken without the framework of a Disability Strategy. We urge the Government to step back from the appeal and instead develop a coproduced ambitious National Disability Strategy with Disabled people".