PM launches new accessibility standards for disabled people

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Injustices faced by disabled people in the workplace, at home and in the community will be tackled through a new package of accessibility measures ordered by the Prime Minister

Higher accessibility standards for new housing, an overhaul of statutory sick pay, and greater workplace support are part of renewed efforts to ensure disabled people can fully participate in society.

With around a fifth of the working-age population living with a disability, the Prime Minister has also announced a new cross-government disability team.

This team will work closely with disabled people, disabled people’s organisations and charities to develop a new approach to disability, with their views and experiences at the forefront of any new policy. Further measures will be set out later this year.

Prime Minister Theresa May said: “My determination to identify and tackle injustices, wherever they exist in society, remains as strong as ever.

“We all have a crucial role – businesses, government and civil society – in working together to ensure that disabled people get the support they need, and go as far as their talents can take them.”

Recognising that too many disabled people still live in unsuitable homes, the government will consult on mandating higher accessibility standards for new housing.

This could help deliver up to 300,000 new accessible and adaptable homes every year. Guidance will also be published to help councils meet current standards for accessible housing in England.

Work and Pensions Secretary, Amber Rudd, said: “Disabled people encounter too many challenges in life and I want to see these end.

“We want to change the landscape for disabled people and to make sure there is always a level playing field for them.”

Richard Kramer, chief executive for the disability charity Sense, said: “Today’s announcement is a significant one for disabled people, and addressing the inequalities they face.

“For too long now, disability policy has been focused on what benefits or services disabled people do or don’t access, rather than the lives they want, and have a right to lead.

“Equality for disabled people is everyone’s business and cuts across all areas of policy and life, which is why we have been calling for and welcome this new cross-government approach.

“We know that today is just the beginning of the journey, but we look forward to working with the government as this work takes shape, and ensuring it is led by and centres around disabled people to truly deliver meaningful change.”

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