Crippen asks, has this government lost its new Disability Unit?

Er hello … is anyone there?!

One would be forgiven for thinking that the new Disability Unit staff had all gone on holiday during this recent crisis. Not a single announcement has been made by them over the past three months, despite over 22,000 disabled people having died from the Covid 19 pandemic.

You’ll probably remember the press release that announced the setting up of this “exciting” new government department and that it would bebreaking down the barriers faced by disabled people”. The Disability Unit was intended to bring together the former Office for Disability Issues and other experts from across government, and has offices in London, Sheffield and Leeds.

Despite the mounting evidence of the disproportionate impact of the pandemic on disabled people, the Disability Unit’s web page has remained silent since 2 April, with the minister for disabled people, Justin Tomlinson failing to use the page to speak out, report on progress or announce any policy developments to deal with the crisis.

Our friends at the Disability News Service (DNS) reports that there has been anger and concern at the Disability Unit’s failure from disabled activists and disabled people’s organisations.

Bob Ellard, a member of the national steering group of Disabled People Against Cuts, said: “This is a totally reprehensible failure while so many disabled people are dying and going through severe hardship. This government shows it just doesn’t care about us.”

Ian Jones, from WOWcampaign, said: “Two weeks ago we were left in no doubt that disabled people do not matter to the Equality and Human Rights Commission. This week we are being left in no doubt that disabled people do not matter to this Tory government.”

Tracey Lazard, chief executive of Inclusion London, said: “From the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic, disabled people have experienced discrimination, disadvantage and disproportionately high death rates, as starkly detailed in our recently published report Abandoned, Forgotten and Isolated.

“Central government, despite these dreadful inequalities, has mostly failed to involve, engage with and listen to disabled people and Deaf and disabled people’s organisations in planning the response to the pandemic … we see no evidence that the government is working with disabled people’s organisations on COVID issues or to develop the National Disability Strategy due to be completed in 2020.”

You can read more about the response from groups and organisations of disabled people by clicking here and reading the full DNS article.

Description of cartoon for those using screen reading software

The scene is the office of the Disability Unit with a large desk dominating the space. Hiding behind the desk is Justin Tomlinson, Minister for disabled people. Large droplets of sweat are falling from him. At the door is a white male wheelchair user holding out a piece of paper on which is written ‘virus update – 22,000 deaths of disabled people’. A young black woman is standing in front of the desk and is saying to him: “I’m sorry Sir, but we seem to have mislaid the minister!”

One response to this post.

  1. Posted by A6er on 18/07/2020 at 12:15

    Reblogged this on Tory Britain!.

    Reply

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