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OPINION: Sunak decision to scrap Minister for Disabled People role ‘a terrible mistake’

The role of Disabilities Minister has existed since 1974

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I wish to put on record my horror on learning of the Conservative government’s confirmation on 14 December that it has scrapped the dedicated role of Minister for Disabled People. As a disabled person myself, I know just how increasingly difficult things have become under the 13 years of Conservative rule. 

The 16 million disabled people in this country must have a Minister for Disabled People as an advocate at the heart of government for our problems.

The role of Disabilities Minister has existed since 1974.

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Only last week, the Women and Equalities Select Committee issued a critical report on the government’s disability strategy.  It is shocking that the Prime Minister believes the disabled in this country do not need a specific minister responsible for their needs.  It shows that he is detached from the everyday needs of those who are really struggling to survive in South Cambs and the rest of the country.

If we had a dedicated Minister for Disabled People with strong influence in Government then things could be very different.

The threat to close just about every ticket office in the country wouldn’t have been an issue.

The needs of people with sight issues would have stopped the proposal before it even started.

Scrapping the winter cost of living payment to disabled people wouldn’t have been considered.

The higher living costs, especially higher energy costs, of many disabled people would have been recognised.

Labour tells Rishi Sunak: “If we had a dedicated Minister for Disabled People with strong influence in Government then things could be very different”


Labour tells Rishi Sunak: “If we had a dedicated Minister for Disabled People with strong influence in Government then things could be very different” PICTURE: Terry Harris 

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Claims by Chief Secretary to the Treasury Laura Trott that people with mobility or mental health issues have to ‘do their duty’ and work from home wouldn’t be placing the blame on to disabled people.

Many disabled people would love to be able to work.  It gives us dignity. But to make it happen we need jobs that can be done from home by people who have been out of the labour market.

And creating the right support for employee and employer is exactly the sort of thing that a Minister for Disabled People should be pioneering.

I urge the government to rethink this terrible mistake.

Already, millions of disabled people are suffering under the policies of the Tories.  Labour can assure everyone that a Minister for Disabled People would be restored as part of its first cabinet if we have the honour to be elected at the next general election.

No more will the needs of disabled people be an afterthought.

Once again, we will be at the heart of a Labour government’s decision-making process.

Stacey Davies is South Cambridgeshire Labour Party’s Disabilities spokesperson

 

 

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