Conservative party manifesto fails to address disability inequality

Wed,12 June 2024
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Yesterday, Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, addressed an assembled audience of Conservative Party members, to outline the Party’s Manifesto. Unlike the Liberal Democrat manifesto launch however, there was no BSL interpreter present to relay information to Deaf viewers.

The manifesto was heavy on commitments regarding property, tax cuts and working families, with a scattering of actions on health and disability; These included:

  • An Increase in NHS spending above inflation every year, recruiting 92,000 more nurses and 28,000 more doctors.
  • Improving accessibility at 100 train stations, starting with the 50 stations announced in May this year.
  • A plan to transform education for children with special educational needs, through delivering 60,000 more school places and a further 15 new free schools for children with special educational needs.
  • Enacting a new law to provide better treatment and support for those with severe mental health needs in the first session of the next Parliament.

However, for the Disabled community and carers across the country, a full scan of the Manifesto reveals little in the way of positive policies for Disabled people in general and for Disabled benefit claimants. Once again, the PM spoke of his aims to overhaul and slim down the benefits system, announcing:

  • A Reform of disability benefits so they are better targeted and reflect people’s genuine needs, while delivering a step change in mental health provision.
  • An Overhaul of the fit note process so that people are not being signed off sick as a default.
  • Introducing tougher sanctions rules so people who refuse to take up suitable jobs after 12 months on benefits can have their cases closed and their benefits removed entirely.

Despite the Manifesto being light on policies that benefit Disabled people, it states that the Governments ambition is to make the UK the most accessible place in the world for people with disabilities to live, work and thrive, saying that they “are delivering on our disability action plan to transform the everyday lives of people.” The Manifesto also says that they will explore bidding for and hosting the 2031 Special Olympics World Summer Games. 

The full manifesto was uploaded to the Conservative party homepage shortly after the PM spoke. However, no alternative formats of the Manifesto were promised.

Watching the manifesto launch, Dan White policy and campaigns officer at DR UK said: “The Conservative manifesto was light on rights and services for Disabled people. The intended benefit reforms will worry millions of Disabled people living in poverty.”

“On Monday the gauntlet of inclusion and care policy was thrown down by Ed Davey in his manifesto and Rishi Sunak utterly failed or ignored to pick it up. This manifesto, for Disabled people is a failure.”

Read about our policies and asks for a general election in the Disabled peoples manifesto.