Department for Business and Trade: Disability

Department for Business and Trade written question – answered on 3 July 2023.

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Photo of Caroline Nokes Caroline Nokes Chair, Women and Equalities Committee, Chair, Women and Equalities Committee

To ask the Secretary of State for Business and Trade, with reference to the National Disability Strategy published on 28 July 2021, which of her Department’s commitments in that strategy that have not been paused as a result of legal action have (a) been fully, (b) been partially and (c) not been implemented.

Photo of Kevin Hollinrake Kevin Hollinrake Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade)

In January 2022, the High Court declared the National Disability Strategy (NDS) was unlawful because the UK Disability Survey, which informed it, was held as a voluntary consultation that failed to comply with the legal requirements on public consultations.

The National Disability Strategy (NDS) was published in July 2021 before the creation of the Department of Business and Trade in February 2023. The former Department for International Trade had no policies in the NDS while former Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) had several commitments. The following three NDS commitments, were delivered by BEIS before the Judicial Review in January 2022:

  1. An online advice hub providing clear, accessible information on employment rights for disabled people, developed in collaboration with the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration service (Acas). This is now live and can be found at the following address:
  2. A consultation on “making flexible working the default unless employers have good reasons not to”. The consultation ran from September to December 2021 and the Government published its response in December 2022. The Government is supporting the Employment Relations (Flexible Working) Private Members Bill through parliament, which will deliver several of the measures committed to in the response.
  3. An outline of next steps on introducing unpaid carer’s leave across Great Britain, following the Government’s consultation response in September 2021. The Government supported the Carer’s Leave Private Members Act through parliament, which has now received Royal Assent.

The remaining former BEIS commitments relevant to the Department for Business and Trade’s remit in the National Disability Strategy were formally paused as a result of the Judicial Review. These were:

  1. Scoping policy proposals to ensure that every disabled person who wants to start a business has the opportunity to do so.
  2. Launching an Extra Costs taskforce, to understand the extra costs faced by disabled people and how this breaks down for different impairments.

We remain fully committed to supporting disabled people in the UK through creating more opportunities, protecting their rights and ensuring they fully benefit from, and can contribute to, every aspect of our society. To support this, the Department for Business and Trade will be providing further details of our recent achievements to improve disabled people’s lives in the forthcoming Disability Action Plan consultation due for publication in the summer.

Ahead of this, the Minister for Disabled People, Health and Work will write providing a list of these achievements and will place a copy in the House Library.

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