Disability Action Plan fails to tackle major issues facing people with disabilities

National Star believes the government’s newly published Disability Action Plan has missed the opportunity to tackle the major issues facing young people with disabilities and their families.

By Matt Walsh · 09/02/2024

While National Star welcomes the government’s commitment to consult with people with disabilities about the policies that impact their lives, the charity is disappointed that there is not more actions that will address the fundamental issues of support, inclusion and valuing people with disabilities across society.

The Disability Action Plan sets out 32 measures the government hopes will transform the lives of disabled people. Earlier this year National Star’s students and professionals took part in the consultation.

“The government states it wants the UK to be the most accessible place in the world for disabled people to live and we would wholeheartedly agree with that aspiration,” said Lynette Barrett, National Star’s Chief Executive.

“Yet there is nothing in this Plan that addresses the real challenges disabled people are facing in this country – the disability employment gap, health care, social care, transport and housing, not to mention the cost-of-living crisis. These are the real issues that are preventing people with disabilities to thrive and contribute to society.”

While National Star applauds such actions as more accessible playgrounds, protection for customers with assistance dogs from being illegally refused entry to businesses and increased support for “aspiring disabled politicians”, the charity believes the voice of young people is missing.

“The plan talks about a disabled people’s experience panel involving disabled parents and guardians, disabled children and carers, yet there is no mention of young adults,” says Lynette.

“Young people with disabilities have so much to contribute, however, without the right support their contribution is restricted, meaning for many they can’t work or participate in meaningful occupation as the basics of their daily care is not fit for purpose.

“Sadly, they are now seen as the reason why so many local authorities are facing financial crisis. Even in the same week as the Plan came out, one county councillor referred to children with disabilities as being ‘just really badly behaved’.

“For the UK to be the most accessible place in the world we need to ensure there is equity so people with disabilities can lead meaningful lives. Valuing people, regardless of their abilities or needs, is a critical starting point.