Our message to the Prime Minister.

We're calling on the government to reinstate a dedicated Minister for Disabled People. And to ensure disabled people are seen as a priority.

Dear Prime Minister,

I am writing to raise Scope’s profound concerns around your government’s course of direction on disability and the negative tone members of your government have taken towards disabled people.

As you may know, Scope campaigns for and provides support and information to Britain’s 16 million disabled people. Our vision is of a society where disabled people have equal opportunities to non-disabled people – at home, school, work, and in our communities.

Research conducted by Scope has unveiled distressing statistics that highlight a pervasive issue faced by disabled people in our country. Of the disabled people we spoke to, a staggering 72% reported experiencing negative attitudes or behaviour within the last five years. Even more disheartening is the fact that 87% of those who encountered such negativity claimed that it had a detrimental impact on their daily lives, a figure that rises to a staggering 96% among the age group of 18 to 34.

I hope you agree this data makes for worrying reading. At Scope, we believe Government must show leadership by setting out a clear, positive vision for disabled people in the UK - sadly this has not been the case. Over the past year, Ministers have made alarming statements about disabled people, including making a link between their obligation as citizens to work; linking the idea of disabled people with taking taxpayers for a ride; and alarmingly, the former Minister for Disabled People, the person with responsibility for disability in government, recording a video for social media, while wearing a protective vest and uses the following words “We will track you down. We will find you. And we will bring you to justice”. These examples are concerning and go nowhere in building confidence amongst disabled people.

On top of all of this, your recent reshuffle in which the now former Minister for Disabled People was moved, not only took a week for a successor to be announced, but the position has been merged with another DWP Minister. Disabled People are now left in the deeply uneasy position of having a Minister for Disabled People, which has been merged with another role, and having the role downgraded from a Minister of State level - we strongly urge the reinstatement of a dedicated Minister at the proper level.

Prime Minister, the UK’s 16 million disabled people deserve so much better than this treatment. The last few years have not been easy following the pandemic, and now, as we continue through a cost-of-living crisis – the messages from the government disappointingly have not been one of leadership and ambition – this must change. Only then will we be able to effectively tackle issues around attitudes and the many other issues disabled people face.

As Prime Minister, we ask you to show the leadership needed and ensure disabled people are seen as a priority.

Kind regards,

James Taylor

Executive Director at Scope

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