NSUN responds to the Disability Action Plan

On Monday, the government published the Disability Action Plan.

NSUN considers the Disability Action Plan to be weak, with a focus on too few shorter-term actions that don’t go nearly far enough, and with very little potential to affect much-needed transformative change.

To focus on just few of its shortcomings, the Plan acknowledges the cost of living crisis but makes no commitment to action beyond a vague point about “highlight[ing] concerns related to disabled people and the cost of living”, and makes no reference at all to the harm caused to Disabled people, including those living with mental ill-health, trauma, and distress, by our inadequate and hostile social security system, by employment inequalities, and by the crisis in access to healthcare services, including social care.

Sitting alongside the flaws of the National Disability Strategy, the Disability Action Plan inspires no confidence that the government is willing to commit to accountability in implementing equality legislation, such as the Equality Act and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD), or to tackling the many current policy developments that will disadvantage Disabled people, including the Back to Work Plan and the proposed changes to the Work Capability Assessment.

We echo Disability Rights UK’s response that the Disability Action Plan “is about what non-disabled policy makers are willing to offer us, it is not a plan which protects or enhances our rights or demonstrates an understanding of the social model of disability. It is not what we need, rather it is what a disablist government has grudgingly offered.”

We want the government to accept that dismantling fundamental societal barriers we face requires significant investment. We call on the government to commit to the transformative, rights-based changes set out in the Disabled People’s Manifesto to tackle disablist policy-making and systemic oppression and injustice.

Actions you can take to support the Disabled People’s Manifesto, produced by the Disabled Peoples’ Organisation Forum, of which NSUN is a member, can be found on the DPO Forum’s website.