What will you do to address the chronic shortage of accessible and adaptable affordable housing and make sure that everyone has the right in legislation and in practice to a safe and suitable place to live?
Under the Tories, there is a national housing crisis with the lowest level of house building in peacetime since the 1920s, and a ballooning of insecure and poor quality private rental housing.
The Tories’ Bedroom Tax and cuts to supported housing threaten the viability of projects for disabled and older people, and the freeze in local housing allowance are all having a big impact on disabled people being able to afford to continue to live in their homes.
That’s why the next Labour government will repeal the Bedroom Tax and bring forward a Social Security Bill to reverse Tory cuts. We will build more accessible and disabled-friendly new homes as part of our ambitious affordable housing programme.
How will you challenge the negative perceptions held by some employers and Jobcentre staff to tackle the high unemployment rates amongst disabled people?
The Conservatives’ punitive sanctions system has caused real hardship for some of the most vulnerable people in our society. Labour will change the culture of the social security system, from one that demonises sick and disabled people to one that is supportive and enabling.
As a starting point, Labour will scrap the Conservatives’ punitive sanctions regime and change how Job Centre Plus are performance managed. The next Labour government will place a new duty on Job Centre Plus staff to work with local authorities and local employers on recruitment needs and practices. Employees with an impairment or chronic condition will have a new right to flexible working.
Will you guarantee that there will always be a safety net that ensures a good standard of living for people who are unable to work or are finding it difficult to find suitable employment?
Tory cuts to social security have landed unfairly on sick and disabled people. Unlike the Tories, the next Labour government will champion the rights of disabled people and build a country where disabled people are supported to fulfilling and independent lives. We are committed to a social model of disability and will enshrine the UN Convention on the Rights of Disabled People fully into UK law.
Do you oppose forced institutionalisation and what protections will you put in place for disabled people?
Labour believes in a social model of disability, a society which removes barriers restricting opportunities and choices for disabled people. As such we will build on the previous Labour Government’s commitment to disabled people in 2009 as signatories to the United Nations Convention of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UN CPRD). The next Labour government will incorporate the UN CRPD into UK law.
Will you stop the wastage of time, money and energy for all involved that is annual reassessments of people with lifelong/degenerative conditions?
The next Labour government will abolish Work Capability and Personal Independence Payment assessments and replace them with a personalised, holistic process which provides each individual with a tailored plan, building on their strengths and addressing barriers, whether financial, skills, health, care, transport, or housing-related.
How will you increase people’s choice and control over how their care needs are met?
Labour is committed to the equal right of all disabled people to live in the community, with choices equal to others’ as expressed in Article 19 of the UNCRPD. We will work with disabled people and local agencies seeking to develop a network of local, independent living hubs – ‘one-stop-shop’ for all a disabled person’s needs – to enable this.
Labour wants to improve the status of domiciliary care, which we believe for far too long has been seen as low skill, low paid work. We will develop training with career pathways and progression for paid carers.
And we will also support Britain’s unsung heroes; our unpaid carers, who provide millions of hours of unpaid support to loved ones, friends or neighbours every week, and are estimated to save the country over £132 billion a year. A Labour government will increase Carer’s Allowance from £62 a week to £73 a week in recognition of the contribution carers make.
What will you do to tackle the rise in disability hate crime?
The Tories have failed to expand the scope of the law to cover crimes committed against people on the basis of disability, even though these hate crimes are now on the rise.
The next Labour government will ensure the annual reporting of the levels of disability hate crime and violence against disabled women, putting into place comprehensive national actions plans to stop these crimes.
We will ensure that under the Istanbul Convention, there is annual reporting of the levels of disability hate crimes and violence against disabled women, and comprehensive national action plans to stop these crimes are put in place, including training for the police.
What will you do to make public transport truly accessible?
Conservative cuts to public transport have disproportionally impacted on disabled people who rely more heavily on it to get around. The next Labour government will build more accessible and disabled-friendly new homes as part of our affordable housing programme.
We will stop the expansion of driver-only operation on board trains and reverse the cut to the funding to the Access to All programme, which was set up to improve accessibility to all of Britain’s railway stations.
What will you do to make Local Authorities more accountable in cases of maladministration against children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities?
The Conservatives have failed to engage with children and young people to enable them to have more autonomy over their lives and empower them through education and employment. Labour will deliver a strategy for children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) based on inclusivity, and embed SEND more substantially into training for teachers and non-teaching staff, so that staff, children and their parents are properly supported.
By a Labour Party spokesperson