Ministers have already broken six Disability Strategy pledges, just months after launch

(Article first published 13 January 2022 on Disability News Service.)

The government has already broken at least six promises it made in last summer’s much-criticised National Disability Strategy, responses by various departments this week have confirmed.

Analysis of the strategy, published last July, shows that at least six of the actions it promised would be carried out by the end of 2021 have not been completed.

This includes action on tackling Disability hate crime, the accessible housing crisis, disability employment and how the government engages with disabled people.

When the strategy was published, the prime minister, Boris Johnson, described it as the “down payment” on his promise to “build back better and fairer, for all our disabled people”.

But the strategy has been described as “just cynical repackaging”, with analysis by Disability News Service last August exposing its lack of bold initiatives and new funding, and how ministers had padded it out with scores of consultations, reviews and vague pledges.

Fresh analysis of the strategy now shows that at least six of the “commitments” made in the document have already been broken.

In a blog posted on 29 December, the minister for Disabled people, Chloe Smith, said that this review had now been extended until the spring of 2022 so as to provide “a full opportunity for meaningful engagement with our stakeholders”.

Smith declined to explain this week why so many of the government’s “commitments” had already been broken.

And she declined to say if this showed that the government was not treating disabled people as a priority, and if the prime minister’s statement that the strategy was the “down payment” on his promise to “build back better and fairer, for all our disabled people” had now been exposed as empty rhetoric.

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