Liberal Democrats make Care and Disabled peoples rights central to their manifesto

Mon,10 June 2024
News Benefits Equality & Rights Health & Social Care Participation
Today the Liberal Democrats released their election manifesto, which contained much on the issues of care, health and disability.

Speaking live from London, Ed Davey, the leader of the Lib Dems announced a manifesto that leaned heavily into care, specifically personal care and the role of unpaid and young carers.

Mr Davey had a BSL interpreter present and began by announcing a series of policies that would, if they gain power, transform care, health and the NHS.

On care, Mr Davey, a carer himself to his Disabled son announced the following:

  • The creation of a National Care Agency.  
  • The Introduction of free personal care for older or Disabled people at home. 
  • An Increase in Carer’s Allowance and expanded eligibility.
  • The introduction of a statutory guarantee of regular respite breaks for unpaid carers.
  • The Introduction of paid carer’s leave for employees, building on the entitlement to unpaid leave.
  • Making caring a protected characteristic under the Equality Act 2010, requiring employers to make reasonable adjustments for employees with caring responsibilities.
  • Introducing a Young Carers Pupil Premium as part of an ‘Education Guarantee’ for young carers.

In relation to health and disability, there were several announcements made that included:

  • A pledge to give everyone the right to see a GP or the most appropriate practice staff member within seven days, or within 24 hours
  • A plan to improve Disabled access across the rail network.
  • The establishment of an Independent Living Taskforce. 
  • The ending of inpatient placements for those with learning disabilities and autism. 

On education, there were several policies relevant to mental health and SEND:

  • Put a qualified mental health professional in every primary and secondary school.
  • Introduce a tutoring guarantee for every disadvantaged pupil who needs extra support.
  • Establish a national body to support SEND pupils with very high needs.
  • Give LA’s extra funding towards EHC Plans.

Regarding welfare and benefits, the Lib Dems made several promises which included:

  • Scrapping the bedroom tax.
  • Replacing sanctions with incentives.
  • Introducing a national food strategy
  • Removing the 2-child limit benefit cap.
  • Improving PIP assessments.

Perhaps the most important aspect of the manifesto is that the Lib Dems have announced they will fully implement the United Nations Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which would affirm and give total rights to Disabled people across the UK. The current Government has been found guilty by the UN of violating the convention, revealing both “grave” and “systematic” breaches of Disabled people’s rights.

Following the unveiling of these and other pledges, the Liberal Democrat website uploaded the full manifesto with a promise that it will be available in all accessible formats over the coming days, including easy read, braille and audio.

The full manifesto can be found on the Liberal Democrat website.

Watching the manifesto launch, Dan White policy and campaigns officer at DR UK said “Although this is only the first manifesto launch, there is a welcome acknowledgement of the nation’s unpaid and low paid carers. Disabled people and carers can share a symbiotic relationship, with many Disabled people relying on care and support from family and friends. Policies that recognise the need to improve the lives of Disabled people and carers are welcomed.”

“DR UK shall of course watch and dissect the next batch of manifestos, which are ready to be released, hoping they build on these inclusive promises, hoping they remember the rights we demand, hoping they read our Disabled Peoples Manifesto, because as a community 16 million strong, we have quite the voting power.”