Today I am pleased to launch a new cross-government approach on disability which is guided by a vision that recognises the contributions that disabled people make and where disabled people can participate fully in society. To drive forward this approach, government will establish a new cross-departmental team in the Cabinet Office, recognising that disabled people face barriers across a wide range of aspects of their lives and coordinated cross-government action is therefore vital.
To inform this new approach, government is committed to strengthening the evidence base on disability and to improve engagement with disabled people and disabled people’s organisations, in line with relevant recommendations from the United Nations.
The Department for Work and Pensions and the Department for Health and Social Care will consult on how employers can best support disabled people and people with long-term health conditions to stay and thrive in work. This will include measures to reform Statutory Sick Pay so that it is better enforced, more flexible and covers the lowest paid employees as well as improved quality, cost effectiveness and capacity in the private sector occupational health market.
Alongside this, the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government will consult on raising mandatory accessibility standards for all new homes in Autumn. The Department for Work and Pensions will also in the coming months bring forward a Green Paper on health and disability support, to enable a conversation about building a welfare system for the future that is an ally of disabled people. The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy will also be setting out plans to work with departments, regulators and stakeholders to improve consumer outcomes for disabled people through developing metrics to compare how well companies deliver for disabled customers in essential markets.
The team will work closely with disabled people, disabled people’s organisations and charities to take forward this new approach to disability, with their views and experiences at the forefront of any new policy.
This written statement aligns with the Prime Minister’s written statement tabled today on Machinery of Government change for the Office for Disability Issues.