Strategy to improve life chances of disabled people launched

    A new Office for Disability Issues to co-ordinate government
    work on disability is to be established, it emerged today,
    writes Clare Jerrom.

    The announcement came as the government published a strategy
    designed to transform the lives of disabled people.

    The strategy states that by 2025, disabled people should have
    full opportunities and choices to improve their quality of

    It highlights four key areas:-

    • A major expansion of direct payments to increase
    disabled people’s ability to live independently.

    • Better family support to enable families with young
    disabled children to remain socially and economically included.

    • Improved employment prospects of disabled people through
    personalised support, while providing security for those unable to

    • Better planning for disabled young people during their
    transition to adulthood to ensure a smooth provision of support and
    services during this transitional period.

    Minister for disabled people Maria Eagle said: “This
    report sets out a full programme of action to support disabled
    people in leading independent lives.

    “This will lead to significantly greater participation and
    inclusion of disabled people in the economy and in society,”
    she added.

    Disability charity Leonard Cheshire and the Council for Disabled
    Children both welcomed the proposal for the establishment of an
    Office for Disability Issues.

    Head of policy at Leonard Cheshire John Knight said the proposal
    was very close to what the charity had been calling for and
    believed it was “an important development that has the
    potential to make real difference”.

    But Lord Victor Adebowale, chief executive of Turning Point,
    warned: “The gulf between the life chances of disabled people
    and non-disabled people is large and there is a long way to travel
    to balance the injustices that prevent disabled people from having
    the same life chances as the rest of the population.”

    He stressed that it was society that was holding people back
    rather than their disability, although the plans could ensure
    disabled people had the same opportunities as non-disabled

    “Our vision for 2025 is one where disabled people are no
    longer expected to fit in to services; rather services will be
    designed around each individual’s needs, aspirations and
    priorities,” he concluded.

    ‘Improving the Life Chances of Disabled People’ by
    the Department for Work and Pensions, Department of Health,
    Department for Education and Skills, Office of the Deputy Prime
    Minister and the Prime Minister’s Strategy Unit from:-





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