Notes from our discussions with attendees.

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

“A grave error from the start of this pandemic, the support in general for disabled people was poorly planned and delivered. We found ourselves unable to access online food shops as we were not all added to the shielded list. Wales needs to look at how disabled people are classified in the future and ensure we are shielded due to our vulnerability to lifestyle change and how our lives were turned upside down due to the way we were ignored.” 

“The pandemic changed the government’s behaviour, the reverted back to the medical model of disability – we were seen by our clinical condition rather than understanding as disabled people, our barriers to access are multiplied. No one with a lived experience felt like they were listened to. It was doctor this and professor that – we have a long way to go to get the social model of disability back on the Welsh government’s agenda.  

The use of language during this pandemic has been a good example; it’s been clinically vulnerable, extremely clinically vulnerable etc. – it feels like we are going back 20 or 30 years. We have a lot of work ahead of us.” 

“Things like equality impact assessments went right out the window for this pandemic, they are very rarely done properly at the best of times.” 

“Disabled people’s PA were getting vaccinations later than other caseworkers, forcing  disabled people to choose if they should let their support staff in the house.” 

Session Two: Long term commitment and ideas

“The Welsh administration is generally much better than the Westminster government when it comes to disability.” 

“The inequality in access to disability funds between Wales and England. If candidates in Wales get elected, they will almost automatically lose their access to PIP and ESA. This is because Wales remunerates their Councillors by a salary, whereas England remunerates their Councillors by an allowance, which the DWP does not take into consideration. So right away, disabled people in Wales are disadvantaged from standing for elections. This needs to be looked into and changed by a future Labour government so disabled people aren’t at risk of losing out.” 

“Even when disabled people get elected, the sheer volume of work and the intensity can be off-putting. Is it possible for job shares in local Councillor roles so people can share the responsibility – it is essentially a reasonable adjustment.” 

“I lived in Holland where they are so much more supportive, I was helped as a disabled person. Whereas in the UK, I am not supported anywhere near as much. The benefits system is really bad here, it is a lot more personal in Holland. We really need to look at international comparisons and learn from them. It seems like disabled people have to fit into the world, rather than the world adapting to fir around us” 

“Disabled people need much better representation across the board, including in the Labour Party. In wales, the  Labour Welsh Executive Committee does not currently have a disabled person rep, whereas the National Executive Committee does. Welsh Labour needs to change this. Labour has a lot of work to do itself, including Disability labour need a much better seat at the table.” 

“Local disabled people need to also be supported in connecting with local disabled people organisations, a lot of capacity building and an understanding of how to access people and organisations in power.” 

“Data is crucial in understanding the problem. Take Labour, for example, you don’t get asked if you are disabled when you join the party, this should be done so we can understand and support members.” 

“We should encourage all Welsh local governments to work on developing disability champions.” 


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