The government has recently launched a consultation on the Disability Action Plan, which is intended to give interested parties a say in future policies that will affect the lives of disabled people. 

Despite the progress made in improving disabled people’s lives that has been made over the past decade, such as tightening legislation around wheelchair access to public spaces and better public transport provision, there are still many challenges to overcome. Discrimination and hate crimes against the disabled are unfortunately all too common.

The government has said that it aims to create a more inclusive society that can help disabled people live fuller and more rewarding lives. In particular, it has highlighted the potential for technology to provide life-changing assistance, and wants to make sure that as many disabled people as possible have access to this. 

There will be mandatory taxi driver training for disability awareness, and a British Sign Language GCSE, among other measures. There will also be a greater focus on accessibility to sport, and an effort to remove the barriers that can exclude disabled people. 

Minister for Disabled People, Health and Work, Tom Pursglove MP, said: “Our Disability Action Plan will lay out practical measures we can implement here and now to improve the lives of disabled people.”

He added: “From leading the way globally with assistive technology to improving inclusivity and accessibility across sport, travel and culture, the Plan will also be important in setting the stage for longer term change.”

“We want disabled people to be at the heart of decision making and I would encourage anyone interested to respond to this consultation so the views of disabled people across the country are front and centre of our final Disability Action Plan.”

Chair of the Disability Unit West Midlands Regional Stakeholder Network, Louise Mckiernan said: “I welcome the Government’s commitment to their new Disability Action Plan and their intention to take immediate and practical actions to improve the lives of disabled people across the UK.”

She added: “The launch of this consultation is an important opportunity for disabled people in particular to have their say and to help shape the Government’s short-term plans. I would encourage as many disabled people, disability organisations and other interested parties as possible to take part in this consultation exercise to ensure their voices are heard.”

Disability rights charities have welcomed the consultation. In particular, the innovation of bringing a Special Olympics World Summer Games to the UK in 2023 has been praised by charities who are keen to widen access to sport in the disabled community, including Activity Alliance

Director of Innovation and Business Development at the charity said that disabled people must be at the heart of the decision making process and that the Disability Action Plan was an opportunity to identify the changes that needed to be made. The consultation will run for 12 weeks and close on the 6th October 2023.   
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