Government failing disabled people, human rights watchdog warns

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The UK government has been accused by a human rights watchdog of making “slow progress” in improving the lives of disabled people.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission said some recommendations made by a United Nations inquiry in 2016 had not been delivered.

The UN called for changes after investigating the rights of disabled people in the UK.

The government said it was already making reforms and taking action.

In a new report submitted to the UN, the EHRC warns that many disabled people continue to face discrimination in the UK, and the situation continues to worsen, particularly in light of current cost-of-living pressures.

The report assesses the extent to which the previous UN recommendations from 2016 have been implemented.

The EHRC said, despite limited progress in certain areas, “we are disappointed to see no progress against some other recommendations”.

“While commitments to address some issues have been made, actions have been delayed or don’t go far enough,” the human rights watchdog says.

The report found there had been no progress in monitoring the impact of welfare reforms or access to justice for disabled people. Its report also found gaps in “meaningful engagement” between governments and disabled people across many parts of the UK.

It said there continued to be a disproportionate number of disabled people living on low incomes or in poverty with some facing long waits for decisions on eligibility for benefits.

Kishwer Falkner, chairwoman of the EHRC, urged the UK and Welsh governments “to address the problems faced by disabled people and take action to address the UN’s recommendations from 2016”.

“Disabled people must be treated with dignity, respect and fairness,” Ms Falkner said. “The recommendations made years ago must be addressed if the lives of disabled people are to improve.” A government spokesperson said it was reforming the health and disability benefits system and was investing £2bn to support sick and disabled people back into work.

“Last month we launched a consultation on our new Disability Action Plan, which is part of this government’s commitment to create a society that works for everyone,” the spokesperson said.

“Significant work is already being taken forward including reforming the health and disability benefits system, boosting disability benefits by 10.1%, investing £2bn to support sick and disabled people back into work, and helping the most vulnerable with record financial support worth around £3,300 per household.

“We remain committed to making our society a more inclusive and accessible place for all disabled people.”

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