I have been contacted by many constituents about Leonard Cheshire Disability’s campaign to support more disabled people in the next Parliament. I am more than happy to support the charity’s pledge and have now signed my name to the pledge.
Liberal Democrats believe that no matter who you are, where you come from and what your circumstances, no one should be denied the opportunity to fulfil their potential.
In order to build a fairer society, we must break down the unfair divisions in our society and in government again, Liberal Democrats will ensure that disabled people get the support and help they need.
The Leonard Cheshire pledge address two key issues, both of which the Liberal Democrats have long history of supporting and will continue to be strong advocates for.
- The right level of social care is made available
Our manifesto has made several commitments to support and increase disability support, one of which will be increasing NHS funding. There is no doubt that our NHS is in crisis and we need to put better measures in place to support those most at need. Our pledge for a 1p tax rise on Income Tax would raise an additional £6 billion a year which would be ring-fenced to be spent only on NHS and social care services. Specifically we have allocated £2 billion for social care.
We will also:
- Bring together NHS and social care into one seamless service – pooling budgets in every area by 2020 and developing integrated care organisations. We would make provisions for personal budgets so that people can design services for their own individual needs, which will help to combat the issues surrounding loneliness and isolation
- Establish a cross-party health and social care convention, bringing together stakeholders from all political parties, patients groups, the public and professionals from within the health and social care system to carry out a comprehensive review of the longer-term sustainability of the health and social care finances and workforce, and the practicalities of greater integration.
- All disabled people who want to work are supported to gain meaningful employment.
We will seek to expand Access to Work, a publicly funded employment support programme that aims to help more disabled people start or stay in work.
An Access to Work grant can pay for practical support to help disabled people:
- Start working
- Stay in work
- Move into self-employment or start a business.
Liberal Democrats also recognise that lack of access to public transport can be a huge barrier to work. That is why we will also continue Access for All, a programme aimed at improving disabled access on public transport.
The Liberal Democrats have a long history of working to raise awareness and understanding of disability across the country. We want to ensure that people living with disabilities are given the fair and just treatment they deserve.