MP COLUMN: More support for disabled people during pandemic
MPs generally support the government’s coronavirus strategy but should shout when they identify people who are suffering needlessly.
For example, millions who live with disabilities of all sorts but face disproportionately higher risks from COVID-19 and its long term social and economic fallout.
About a third of them are spending more time alone than others but emergency responses often neglect them.
The daily inequalities for people with disabilities have worsened while the rights and protections that support them are weaker.
These are central messages to the Prime Minister from MPs and Peers, including me, in the All-Party Parliamentary Disability Group.
We specifically say the government should urgently rejig and resource the Covid-19 strategy to support disabled people in health, social care, and information.
A disability-inclusive response should use accessible communications. Social distancing should not exclude those who rely on assistance accessing groceries, medication and care needs.
That requires guidance for carers so they can safely support daily living, health and wellbeing, and exercise needs.
Those affected should also be enabled to challenge decisions to withdraw or reduce services. This all needs additional funding, training, resources and PPE.
Disability-inclusiveness also applies to the Government’s economic recovery plan so the disability-employment gap or the treatment of disabled people in the workplace doesn’t worsen. We urge an impact assessment of the recovery plan based upon equalities principles.
Otherwise, the coronavirus crisis will have significant socio-economic and equality implications for years. Ministers must listen and adapt. Disabled people should not be an afterthought.
Mary Glindon, North Tyneside MP