The disabled seem to have been forgotten by the Government during this pandemic. And it is heart breaking that such a disproportionate number of disabled people have died as a result of Government neglect.
The decade of austerity under Conservative-led governments that preceded this pandemic has already had a devastating impact on the lives of disabled people in the UK. Two separate United Nations reports described the Government having committed “systematic violations” of the rights of disabled people.
Although the Government said last year that “emergency powers would only be used if demand pressures and workforce illness during the COVID-19 outbreak mean that local authorities are imminently at risk of failing to fulfil their duties”, it is clear that this has been used as an excuse to erode the hard won disability rights that have been built up over at least 30 years.
Last year I wrote to the Prime Minister calling for emergency support for people affected by the coronavirus epidemic. He did next to nothing, which is unforgivable.
The Government have thus failed to properly support disabled people and their families and I support the calls from Scope for the Government to provide immediate, targeted support for disabled people to protect their health, their finances and to support the families of disabled people.
I also want to see this support extended beyond the end of this pandemic and I will continue to speak out on behalf of the disabled as I have done over many years.