Labour have launched a specific manifesto with people with a disability following extensive consultation with disabled people and their carers across the country.
Over the last seven years, disabled people – including people with physical or mental impairments and long-term health conditions – have borne the brunt of the Tory cuts, which has seen the number of disabled people living in poverty rise to 4.2 million.
Labour will reverse the cuts to disability support, transform our social security system from one that demonises disabled people to one that is supportive and enabling, scrap the punitive sanctions regime and replace ineffective, degrading assessments.
The manifesto sets out Labour’s plan to tackle the barriers facing disabled people and to build a society in which everyone has the same opportunities and choices.
Cllr Stephen Morgan, Labour candidate for Portsmouth South, said:
“Labour will ensure that disabled people and people with mental health conditions have access to the support they need and will work with disabled people to build an inclusive society, where no one is held back from fulfilling their potential and realising their aspirations.
These costed policies set out in this manifesto, will ensure that disabled people are properly supported to live full and independent lives here in Portsmouth.
As your MP, I will always work in partnership with disabled people to ensure no one in our city is held back.”
Last year the United Nations (UN) published a report concluding that the Conservative government had committed ‘grave, systematic violations of the rights of persons with disabilities’.
The chair of the disability charity SCOPE, Andrew McDonald said:
‘The impact of recent reductions and restrictions to benefits and inaction on social care threaten to make life harder for many disabled people. Urgent action is needed.’
Labour believes in the social model of disability – that it is society which disables people, and it is our job to remove those barriers.
What Labour will do:
- Sign the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) into UK law
- Act to tackle discrimination, remove barriers and ensure social security delivers dignity and empowerment, not isolation and stigma.
- Legislate to make terminal illness a protected characteristic under the Equality Act.
- Work with employers, trade unions and public services to improve awareness of neurodiversity in the workplace and in society.
- Give British Sign Language full recognition as a recognised language.
In a report regarded as the most comprehensive analysis of the rights of disabled people in the UK, the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) found that changes to benefit rules have had a ‘disproportionate, cumulative impact on their right to live independently.’ The chair of the EHRC, David Isaac said: ‘They must have the same rights, opportunities and respect as other citizens.’
The Tory government’s cuts to Personal Independent Payments (PIPs) and Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) for disabled people flies in the face of this. Life has been made extremely difficult for many disabled people. Living with a disability or long-term condition or illness can be a financial as well as physical drain on people.
As Rumal Khan, Labour candidate for Portsmouth North says:
‘How on earth can cutting the support disabled people need to survive incentivise them to work? Many have had their Motability vehicles or mobility scooters taken away from them, the very tools they need in order to get to work in the first place.’
‘We are all citizens of the world and should be valued as such. Everyone has something to offer society, everybody can play their part but they have to be given the opportunity to do so. They cannot do this if they have insurmountable obstacles placed in their way.’
Labour believe in a more equal society and will work to ensure that all our citizens are valued and have a stake in it.