Disability Action Plan 2023 to 2024
Posted by Jamie McKay on July 19, 2023
Yesterday the government launched its Disability Action Plan for 2023 to 2024. But, what is in the plan, and will it actually help people?
The main aim of the plan is:
“The ambition to make this country the most accessible place in the world for disabled people to live, work and thrive.”
Which is an admirable aim. So, let’s take a look at how they intend to do this.
To be fair, at this stage, the plan and the document are in the consultation phase and the government seems keen to hear what people think, especially “disabled people and disabled people’s organisations across the UK.”
BSL & Flexible Working
Two of the main policies mentioned as successes are that British Sign Language has at long last been officially recognised as a language in England, Wales, and Scotland.
The government has also created a BSL Advisory Board, with the majority of members being deaf BSL users.
The Department For Business & Transport has also introduced legislation to “make the right to request flexible working a ‘day one’ right, alongside other changes to make flexible working more accessible to all employees.”
These are the two main successes in the report, they are positive signs and a definite step in the right direction.
But, and there is always a but isn’t there?
The Cost Of Living Crisis
After reading and digesting the entire document, we get the nagging feeling that the government is dancing around the edges (or elephant, if you would like a mixed metaphor) of the big issue that is affecting millions of people: The Cost Of Living Crisis.
With report after report and account after account of how the cost of living crisis is disproportionately impacting the lives of disabled people, what is in the plan to counter this very real crisis happening right now, is very thin gruel indeed.
The cost of energy is dramatically higher now in 2023 and there is nothing here to address that.
The problems faced by those with disabilities in rented properties in getting adaptations and accessible features to help them on a daily basis haven’t been addressed.
Increases in ‘awareness’ ‘initiatives’ and ‘education’ should of course be applauded. However, when you bear in mind that this plan is hoping to deal with short-term problems, they ought to be a part of the plan, not the whole of the plan.
Similarly, the plans for transport, on the surface are encouraging but hard to give much credibility to when at the same time as the plan is announced, the government is planning to close train station ticket offices.
In a move that has been universally seen as a terrible decision by anyone with a disability who travels even on an occasional basis, let alone a daily commute.
The problem, or benefit, depending on what side of the table you sit on, with initiatives and awareness campaigns is that they take a long time to come to fruition, cost very little in comparison to making real policy changes, and after a headline-generating fanfare fades away quite often look flimsy when examined in any detail.
Please (If You Can) Have Your Say!
The other takeaway from the Disability Action Plan (and this is true for many governmental plans and legislation) is that it is VERY long, 88 pages, not especially clear or succinct and there is a lot of wading through generously sized bowls of word salad to find real food!
This could be seen, if we were cynical, as a way to minimise the amount of feedback and interest that the planned consultation receives…
The document is available to read here:
Web accessible PDF version
Large Print version
Welsh language version
A Braille version can be requested by emailing: firstname.lastname@example.org
And finally, an “easy read” (83 pages, *sideways look to camera*…) version:
So, with a consultation period of 12 weeks, we would strongly recommend that the document is shared far and wide and encourage as many people as possible to respond:
You can email: email@example.com if you would like to respond via email or if you would like to respond by post, please mark your correspondence ‘Disability Action Plan’ and send to:
Disability Action Plan team
Disability Unit, Cabinet Office
10 Victoria Street
Tel: 0808 175 6420