In response to our discussion on disability and inclusion, we received submissions from 89 CPF groups representing 106 constituencies and at least 664 members across the country. Of these, 1-in-8 were non-members, while about 1-in-5 were aged under-40.
As often, many groups noted that Conservatives in government have done a lot over the past decade but this has not been effectively communicated even to Party members, let alone the wider public. Others seem unaware of recent achievements or policy; e.g. one group wrote, “We consider loneliness to be a disabling problem in our society and policies should be adopted to combat it,” but appears not to know we now have a Minister for Loneliness or that in October the Prime Minister launched the Government’s first loneliness strategy.
What follows is an overview of the key points raised by CPF groups. A more detailed collation of policy suggestions has been sent to the Director of the Prime Minister’s Policy Unit, the CPF Chairman, the Party Vice-Chairman for Policy and relevant government ministers. Responses to question 5 have also been sent to the Party Chairman and Candidates’ Department.
We are working with the PM’s Policy Unit to arrange a roundtable discussion with CPF members at the end of the month and we expect to publish a formal response to members’ ideas in due course.
Overview of Key Points
More than 1-in-6 CPF groups highlighted the need for more bungalows.
1-in-3 CPF groups suggested offering incentives for improving physical accessibility of workplaces and employing workers with disabilities.
About 1-in-7 groups called for Remploy to be supported (although at least half of these seemed unaware that it is now an employee-owned business).
Around 1-in-10 CPF groups said CCHQ should support an “Enabled2Win” network, akin to Women2Win, to support candidates with disability challenges.
Other top policy suggestions in the various sections include:
Houses not purpose-built for people with disabilities should also be accessible.
Require new developments to provide a proportion of accessible homes, similar to the affordable housing requirements in section 106 agreements: for homes to buy and to rent, including social housing.
Introduce an energy performance-like building certificate for disability compliance.
Require all UK cities offering metropolitan rail or tube services to report regularly on the steps they are taking to improve access for people with disabilities.
Establish a “Carers Guild”.
Require compulsory training for all care home staff.
Employers (over a certain size) should be required to report on the number of people with disabilities who apply to them for work and are successfully recruited, the length of retention and nature of work (akin to the gender pay reporting).
5. Participation in Society
The Conservative Party should commission an independent Equality Impact Assessment of the pipeline of candidates with disabilities (from first application to successful election to Parliament) to ascertain where any blockages lie.
Associations should be provided with greater equality and inclusion training.
All party offices should be disability compliant.
6. Culture Change
Stop calling people with disabilities “disabled”.
Public buildings should display a certificate of a disability audit.
Promote greater public understanding of disability through education at all levels.
Educate in mainstream: We need more schools with integrated facilities.
Establish an annual progress report to demonstrate what is being done. Require all companies to have a disability strategy.