Disability rights protesters occupy Commission building

    Campaigners occupied the Disability Rights Commission in
    Manchester last month for over five hours arguing that it is not
    adequately representing the views of disabled people,
    writes Amy Taylor.

    Around 25 members of the Disability Action Network conducted the
    protest to raise the issue of independent living.

    The protesters met with Bob Niven, the DRC’s chief executive,
    where they asked him to sign a letter to the prime minister calling
    for the right to independent living to be included in the
    Disability Bill currently going through parliament. Niven got on
    the phone to DRC chairperson Bert Massie during the meeting but
    didn’t sign the letter.

    DAN member Tom Comerford said that disabled people were still
    treated like “second class citizens” despite the
    Disability Discrimination Act 1995. “We know there’s
    lots of people that can’t go on transport, can’t get
    rehoused and can’t get into employment…so we want some
    teeth in the Bill,” he said.

    He added that DAN also wanted the DRC to be “fully
    independent” arguing that it is currently too close to the
    government.

    Niven said that the DRC believes the Disability Bill could be
    strengthened but that the letter was unlikely to succeed and
    “could even lead to the Bill being delayed or lost
    altogether.”

    He added that the DRC wanted to try to work with DAN. The
    organisations are due to meet later this week.

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