Snap election denies Disabled candidates additional support

Mon,3 June 2024
News Equality & Rights Participation
A Government fund to enable Disabled candidates to stand for elected office will not be reinstated in time for the General Election.

A funding scheme for elected office was set up by the Government in 2018, to enable Disabled people who face extra barriers to be able to stand for election on a level playing field with non-disabled candidates, and would otherwise be unable to stand for office.

The fund, provided by the Government Equalities Office and administered by Disability Rights UK, was closed in early 2020.

The Government’s Disability Action Plan pledged some form of support for Disabled candidates for 2025 – denying support for anyone needing it in a 2024 election.

Disability Rights UK’s Anna Morell said: “Disabled people have been without democratic support funding for four years now.

“In that time, Disabled people have missed out on being able to stand in local elections, Police and Crime Commissioner elections, and now the General Election.

“There are over 16 million Disabled people in the UK, with just six MPs out of 650 in the last Parliament on the record as being Disabled. Our Government will not be reflective of the society it serves until those figures change.

Realistically, those figures can only significantly change when Disabled people are valued enough to be given the resources we need to be able to stand for election.

“We call upon whoever wins this election to reinstate support quickly, and pledge to bring more reflective diversity into elected office across the board, through the nomination of more Disabled candidates, the support they need to stand, and then to undertake their duties within office.

“At the moment, things like flexible working as an MP are difficult and the built environment of many government offices is inadequate to meet the needs of Disabled people. For example, the Houses of Parliament only have two Disabled parking spaces within the grounds and the lifts in Portcullis House where many MPs work do not accommodate mobility scooters or bariatric wheelchairs.

“It is astonishing that the Equality Act has been in place since 2010, and the Disability Discrimination Act before that since 1995, both of which are Acts of Parliament, and in essence should justify Parliament putting in place consistent measures for equality and parity for Disabled people, and yet those measures are still absent from the democratic process almost thirty years on.”

Notes for editors:

A previous scheme, the Access to Elected Office fund, existed until May 2015.

The Access to Elected Office Fund gave grants of between £250 and £40,000 to Disabled people who wanted to stand in an election, or who were standing for election.

Funding within both funds was for additional disability-related costs, not for general costs such as campaigning costs (eg leafleting costs).

Parish Council elections were not covered by the funds.

The DR UK media line can be reached on: 020 3687 0782. You can email our media team at

Disability Rights UK is the UK’s leading organisation led by, run by, and working for disabled people.

We work with Disabled People’s Organisations and Government across the UK to influence regional and national change for better rights, benefits, quality of life and economic opportunities for disabled people.

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