LAST week saw the publication of the Government’s Disability Action Plan Consultation, outlining how it aims to improve the lives of disabled people in the UK. Learning disability charity Hft has responded to these plans, stating there are fundamental gaps.
Kirsty Matthews, CEO of Hft, said:
“We’re glad to see the Government has finally published the Disability Action Plan and hope its proposals will contribute towards a more equitable and accessible UK for all disabled people.
“It’s excellent to see that the Government has ambitions to raise awareness around assistive technology and appoint an assistive technology champion as part of the civil service. At Hft, we recognise and work to deliver against the transformative impact assistive technology can have on the lives of individuals with a learning disability, supporting them to live independently and safely.
“The proposals around improving disability evidence and data is also a positive step. At present, a lack of good-quality evidence and data means it is difficult for the Government to develop or evaluate policies and services for disabled people.
“However, we were disappointed to see that very few commitments and proposals relate specifically to learning disabled adults in the plan – a glaring oversight. Our very own campaigning plan, Voices for Our Future, highlights numerous calls for change from people with a learning disability, on issues including housing and employment, so they can live their best life possible. It is vital that these voices and experiences are heard during the consultation process.
“Moreover, it is difficult to see how these proposals will have a meaningful impact when the Government has yet to get the basics right. While the Government highlights its recent actions on social care, we know they don’t go far enough to address the significant challenges our sector faces. Without a well-funded, thriving social care system, which so many learning disabled people rely on to live, work and socialise, it is hard to see how these proposals will have a meaningful impact.”
The consultation is open for 12 weeks and is due to close on the 6th October. Ms Matthews encourages people to respond.
“We look forward to contributing to this consultation and encourage learning disabled adults to get involved and have their say. We hope the Government listens closely to these voices that deserve to be at the centre of its action plan.”