This year (2021) will mark 26 years since the Disability Discrimination Act and 11 years since the Equality Act were passed into law. Despite this legislative change, progress towards greater equality between disabled and non-disabled people has been erratic and, in some areas, non-existent.
The Conservative party pledged in its 2019 manifesto to publish a National Strategy for Disabled People. The launch of this Strategy expected in June should mark an important milestone as the country recovers from the economic and social pain caused by the pandemic, which has disproportionately affected disabled people’s income, health and employment prospects.
To influence the development and implementation of the Strategy, the CSJ Disability Commission (‘the Commission’) published Now is the Time in March 2021, offering a radical suite of recommendations to improve the life chances of disabled people. The report highlighted how disabled people face multiple and interrelated disadvantages which lock disabled people in isolation, ill health, and poverty. As a result, a holistic approach to tackling the barriers to independent living is critical.
The Commission addressed issues across five areas of policy: education, employment, housing, transport, and access to goods and services. In this briefing paper, the CSJ has focused on areas of policy in which it has a historic policy presence: education, employment, and housing. The outcomes for disabled people across these three areas, and how they relate to the issue of unemployment specifically, are summarised below.