Notes from our discussions with attendees.

Session One: National Strategy for Disabled People, the current Covid pandemic and the post-covid recovery

“Social care is in crisis with previous issues being emphasised by the pandemic. People are unable to live normal lives as long as they are kept in institutions at great expense with no support in the community.”  

“There is a problem with institutions, with many older and disabled people in institutions being devastated by the pandemic.” 

“A big impact of covid- disabled patients not being around visitors or their assistants. This has to lead to deaths due to a lack of communication. One person suffered a broken leg after being misunderstood and miscommunicated by nursing staff. Another person with a learning disability couldn’t communicate their needs without their usual helper.” 

“Abuse in care institutions has increased dramatically with the pandemic.” 

“There has been a doubling of disabled children in units over the course of the pandemic. Issues for disabled people extends to housing, education, work.” 

“Major problems with access to technology and accessible software in the pandemic makes life difficult for the disabled.” 

“For the visually impaired- issues haven’t been addressed adequately enough, some people have had their guide dogs refused entry.” 

“Financial difficulties are exacerbated by the social care system. Extra financial difficulty in the pandemic from delivery charges and PPE etc.” 

“One person didn’t have replacement parts for their home ventilator as they were all needed in hospitals.” 

“Someone didn’t receive vaccine letter in an accessible format and so missed their vaccine appointment.” 

“Basic problems with accessibility.” 

“Many people contact my organisation saying they haven’t received social care support but are still asked to pay more for it.”  

“Lawsuits that are necessary after failures with social care or in employment disputes are taxing on disabled people. We don’t want to have to sue all the time.” 

“There are barriers when accessing employment. People need employment to access many things in society- there is a vast disability employment gap.” 

“The social security system is discriminatory- legacy benefits and the absence of an uplift is bad.” 

“As long as there is a poor representation of disabled people, systemic inequality will continue. The same goes for the lack of intersectionality. Cultural barriers should be bridged at the same time as a current system based on a white and able-bodied approach.” 

“Shielding created a climate of fear for the disabled and cut people off from their essential support networks.” 

Session two:: Long term commitment and ideas

“Many disabled people experience a burden that is put on the education system, but the responsibility should be put on service providers and support in the community 

There should be an emphasis on properly researched support in the community- not in institutions.” 

“Terminology and assumptions should be understood and underlined by the labour party.
Using the word ‘vulnerable’ is disempowering and victimising. The labour party shouldn’t be seen to be victimising with language.” 

“Many disabled people volunteer. Volunteering work should be recognised as equally as valuable as paid work. Disabled people are often leading volunteering efforts and should be put at the forefront of volunteering policy by the labour party.” 

“There should be an employment drive for disabled people- this would create a meaningful change in disabled peoples lives.” 

“There should also be education for public and private sector employers around access to work programmes. The programmes themselves should also be made more accessible. Mandatory transparency should be introduced around disability inclusion- including web accessibility. Audits on accessibility in workplaces should be published.” 

“General increase in investment in education and employment for disabled people is required.” 

“Labour ought to take a proactive position on what their social care system would look like. Highlighting an alternative in the time between now and the next election is essential.” 

“In the short term, labour should take a more proactive position when taking positions against the current government.” 

“Service charges should be scrapped.” 

“Co-production between councils and local authorities would be beneficial. Issues around the difference in policy around parking make life difficult for disabled people.” 

“DPOs need to be involved every step of the way and to along with disabled individuals-  be seen as an essential part of policy infrastructure.” 

“Any disability strategy should be based on the principle of viewing disabled people as assets.” 

“Convention on the Rights of People with Disability needs to be properly understood.” 

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