June 17, 2004
Multiple Sclerosis Society
Disabled people fare less well than non-disabled people and new action is needed to remove barriers and improve outcomes for them, says an interim report from the Prime Minister's Strategy Unit.
It has found that around 10 million people are affected by disability including almost 20% of the UK working age population, with trends suggesting this is on the increase.
Maria Eagle, the Minister for Disabled People, said, "With such a large proportion of our population and workers affected by disability, it is vital that we identify major changes to reduce barriers that inhibit people from participating within our community.
"This review will promote a greater understanding of disability and provide practical solutions to ensure a more positive experience and understanding of disability in our society.
"I encourage all interested parties to respond to the issues raised in this analytical report, which will feed into the final recommendations."
The report identified social problems disabled people suffer at key transition points of their lives, such as between full-time education and employment or between employment and economic inactivity.
Children with disabled parents and families with disabled children are also particularly affected, with 55% of families with disabled children living in or on the margins of poverty.
While there are many successful government services and policies in place, the report says, these can be fragmented and their effectiveness in some cases can be low.
The Strategy Unit is exploring disabled people's 'life chances' and will make policy recommendations to government based around a comprehensive vision for disabled people. This will be achieved by:
Copies of the report 'Improving the Life Chances of Disabled People', in full or in summary, can be accessed via www.strategy.gov.uk and easy-to-read and braille copies are also available by contacting the Project Team on 020 7276 1881.
Feedback is welcomed and regular e-mail updates about the project are also available. Contact the Strategy Unit Disability Team direct.
Post: Cabinet Office, Room 4.14 Admiralty Arch, The Mall, London, SW1A 2WH
Fax: 020 7276 1407
Copyright © 2004, Multiple Sclerosis Society