Tuesday 3 December 2019 / 12:01 AM Disabilities / Jeremy Corbyn / Marsha de Cordova

Labour announces plans to tackle discrimination and restore protections for disabled people and their families

Today (Tuesday), Labour launches its manifesto for disabled people,  “Breaking Down Barriers”, which sets out how a Labour Government will enforce the right of disabled people to live independent lives.

The UN has reported that the Tories have committed “systematic violations” of the rights of disabled people – while their families have been “driven to breaking point” by cuts to social security.

Poverty in families where someone is disabled has risen by over a million since 2010 and almost half of all working age adults living in poverty live in a family that includes a disabled adult or child.

To tackle the scandal of disabled poverty, Labour will:

  • Make sure a disabled child on Universal Credit (UC) receives the same amount as a disabled child on Child Tax Credits.
    • Currently a disabled child on UC receives less than half the basic addition for disabled children in Child Tax Credits to help parents cover the additional costs of having a disability – £1,513 a year, compared with £3,355 a year under Child Tax. The difference is currently £1,842 a year, or £154 a month, or £35 a week.
  • Introduce a self-care element into UC to support severely disabled people without a formal carer – the equivalent of the Severe Disability Premium. Currently, severely disabled people without a carer are worse off on UC than both those on legacy benefits and those on UC who do have a carer.
  • Increase Employment and Support Allowance by £30 per week for those in the work-related activity group.
  • Increasing the Carer’s Allowance to the level of the Jobseeker’s Allowance.
  • Labour will also abolish the punitive sanctions regime, immediately suspending all sanctions and scrap the dehumanising Work Capability Assessment and Personal Independence Payment assessment which are unfit for purpose.
  • These reforms are estimated to cost around £2.6 billion 2023-24 and are accounted for in in Labour’s Grey Book ‘Funding Real Change’

Labour’s Manifesto for Disabled People also commits Labour to:

Halve the disability employment gap by bringing back specialist employment advisors, requiring that all employers be trained to better support disabled people, introducing mandatory disability pay gap reporting for companies with over 250 employees, giving people the right to disability leave, paid and recorded separately from sick leave, producing statutory guidance on timescales for the implementation of reasonable adjustment and introducing a government backed Reasonable Adjustments Passport.

Develop a strategy based on inclusivity throughout our education system, invest in SENCOs and take measure to increase access for disabled people at every level of education.

Ensure disabled people can get access to justice by incorporating disability hate crime into law, requiring disability hate crime and violence against disabled women to be reported annually, and putting in place comprehensive national actions plans.

Break down barriers to disabled people in transport by ending the discriminatory practice of Driver Only Operation on the railway expanding bus services and ensuring that all new buses are talking buses (offering audio-visual announcements).

Break down barriers to disabled people in cultural and political life by giving British Sign Language full legal recognition and reinstating the Access to Elected Office fund to enable disabled people to run for elected office.

Jeremy Corbyn, Leader of the Labour Party, said:

“The treatment of disabled people by Conservative and Lib Dem governments, from devastating cuts to social security support, to cruel and unnecessary assessments, and a complete failure to address the disability employment gap, should be a source of shame.

“Labour will put right this injustice. We’ll ensure that disabled people get the support they need to lead independent lives and participate fully in society. We are on your side.

“This election is a chance for real change, for a more inclusive, fair and equal society that works for the many, not the few.”

Marsha de Cordova, Labour’s Shadow Minister for Disabled People, said:

“I have heard from disabled people all over the country who are angry at how they have been treated by Conservative-led governments and passionate about working with Labour to transform how government approaches disability rights.

“I am proud that Labour is the only party with a manifesto developed by and for disabled people, according to our principle of ‘nothing about you without you’. Labour in government will embody that principle, empowering disabled people and enhancing our voices.

“Breaking Down Barriers takes us beyond what we’ve previously committed, and sets out how we’ll radically shift our approach to ensure the economic, social and structural barriers faced by disabled people are addressed. It’s time for real change.”