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Prime Minister must rethink decision on Disability Minister role

Westminster Bridge and the Palace of Westminster

Disability Minister role replaced with under-secretary post by Prime Minister

Business Disability Forum is calling on the Prime Minister to rethink his decision to downgrade the Disability Minister role and instead use this as an opportunity to make disabled people a government priority.

Diane Lightfoot, CEO of Business Disability Forum, said:

“We remain shocked and deeply concerned by the Government’s decision to replace the Disability Minister role with an under-secretary post that will be carried out as a second job alongside the post-holder’s existing social mobility function. This is a downgrade of the role and gives out the message that the Government neither values nor understands disabled people and their needs.

“Disability affects all of us. 1 in 4 people in the UK has a disability and the number of people living with a disability or long-term condition is increasing. Business Disability Forum has long called for representation of disabled people at Cabinet Office level to reflect this. In his Autumn Statement, the Chancellor said that he wants more disabled people to enter the workplace. If the Government is serious about creating more work opportunities, there needs to be someone championing the needs of disabled people at the highest level of government.

“We have also argued that the remit of the disability role must extend beyond just employment. Disability can impact on every area of a person’s life, not just work. Often, it is the barriers that exist within wider society, such as inaccessible transport systems, poorly funded social care, and an under-resourced NHS that make it harder for disabled people to access and remain in employment. Focusing just on work makes no sense and also provides little representation for disabled people who are unable to work.

“We urge the Prime Minister to rethink his decision and to make sure disabled people are a priority for his government.”


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