New measures to remove disability barriers

Prime Minister Theresa May has ordered a new package of measures to tackle the injustices faced by disabled people in the workplace, at home and in the community.

As part of renewed efforts to ensure disabled people can fully participate in society, May is hoping to oversee higher accessibility standards for new housing, an overhaul of statutory sick pay and greater workplace support. New national outcomes data for disabled people will also be published, shining a light on injustices and driving action to tackle barriers they face.

With around a fifth of the working age population living with a disability, the Prime Minister has also announced a new cross-government disability team. Incorporating the Office for Disability Issues, the new team will sit alongside the Government Equalities Office and Race Disparity Unit in a new Equalities Hub at the heart of government.

The move could see 300,000 new accessible and adaptable homes delivered every year, and reforming Statutory Sick Pay so it is better enforced, more flexible to encourage a phased return to work, and covers the lowest paid.

May said: “My determination to identify and tackle injustices, wherever they exist in society, remains as strong as ever. So I am proud to announce new measures to break down barriers faced by disabled people, whether in employment, housing or elsewhere. We all have a crucial role – businesses, government and civil society - in working together to ensure that disabled people get the support they need, and go as far as their talents can take them.”

Richard Kramer, chief executive for the disability charity Sense, said: “Today’s announcement is a significant one for disabled people, and addressing the inequalities they face. For too long now, disability policy has been focused on what benefits or services disabled people do or don’t access, rather than the lives they want, and have a right to lead.

“Equality for disabled people is everyone’s business and cuts across all areas of policy and life, which is why we have been calling for and welcome this new cross government approach. We know that today is just the beginning of the journey, but we look forward to working with the government as this work takes shape, and ensuring it is led by and centres around disabled people to truly deliver meaningful change.”