Labour launches its manifesto with promises on disability and accessibility

Thu,13 June 2024
News Education Employment Equality & Rights
Today the Labour party launched its manifesto for the General Election. Whilst there was no BSL interpreter on the stage with Keir Starmer, one was visible when viewing online.

Speaking in Manchester, Labour leader Keir Starmer sought to reassure voters with a pledge of “stability.” The manifesto was heavily critical of the conservative government’s handling of the economy and emphasised labours promise of economic repair.

Although focusing primarily on wealth creation, there were specific policy promises made on disability and accessibility.

The Manifesto included the following:

  • On SEND, Labour will take a community-wide approach, improve inclusivity and expertise in mainstream schools, as well as ensuring special schools cater to those with the most complex needs, ensuring admission decisions account for the needs of communities and require all schools to co-operate with their local authority on school admissions, SEND inclusion, and place planning.


  • Championing the rights of Disabled people and the principle of working with us, so that our views and voices will be at the heart of all they do. We will introduce a full right to equal pay for Disabled people. Building on gender pay gap reporting, we will introduce disability and ethnicity pay gap reporting for large employers. We will support disabled people to work by improving employment support and access to reasonable adjustments. We will also tackle the Access to Work backlog and make sure people can try out a job without fear of an immediate benefit reassessment if it does not work out


  • With the planned Great British Railways, Labour will deliver a unified system that focuses on reliable, affordable, high-quality, and efficient services; along with ensuring safety and accessibility. 


  • Labour will fund free breakfast clubs in every primary school, accessible to all children.


  • The manifesto states that Labour will ‘protect LGBT+ and disabled people by making all existing strands of hate crime an aggravated offence


  • Labour will work with local areas to create plans to support more Disabled people and those with health conditions into work. We will devolve funding so local areas can shape a joined-up work, health, and skills offer for local people. We will tackle the backlog of Access to Work claims and give disabled people the confidence to start working without the fear of an immediate benefit reassessment if it does not work out. We believe the Work Capability Assessment is not working and needs to be reformed or replaced, alongside a proper plan to support disabled people to work.


Reading the manifesto, there are other pledges that would support Disabled people such as the Warm Homes Plan which will offer grants and low interest loans to support investment in insulation and other improvements such as solar panels, batteries and low carbon heating to cut bills. This is essential as Disabled people often live in unsuitable housing with high energy bills, due to the necessity of keeping warm and or charging essential equipment.

On Social care, Labour promised that “We will build consensus for the longer-term reform needed to create a sustainable National Care Service. We will explore how best we manage and support an ageing population; how integration with the NHS can be secured; how to best support working age Disabled adults; and how to move to a more preventative system.”

The issue of unpaid and low paid carers was absent, and there was no mention of increases to carers allowance or Disability related benefits.

On the issue of rights, Labour announced plans to Introduce a landmark Race Equality Act, which would enshrine in law the full right to equal pay for Black, Asian, and other ethnic minority people. However, like the conservative and Green party manifestos, there was no mention of the adoption into UK law of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

The manifesto, now on the UK Labour website is promised to be in accessible formats shortly.

Watching Keir Starmer announce the manifesto, Dan White policy and campaigns officer at DR UK said, “Now all the major parties have released manifestos, organisations representing the interests of sections of the community, can take stock and respond accordingly in the weeks leading up to the Election on 4 July.”

“Whilst commitments to work with Disabled people, improve SEN provision and introduce changes to support Disabled people gain and retain jobs are welcome, lack of immediate investment in disability and carer benefits and social care are major omissions.”

“This manifesto is written to reassure, rather than to reveal. We need Labour to be clearer about the future it will create for Disabled citizens, should it become the next UK Government.”

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