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National Disability Strategy

Volume 737: debated on Monday 18 September 2023

In my written statement of 12 July, I informed the House of the judgment handed down by the Court of Appeal on 11 July 2023 regarding the national disability strategy judicial review. In that ministerial statement, I was pleased to inform the House that the Court of Appeal found in favour of the Government. This meant that both the UK disability survey and the national disability strategy have now been found to be lawful by the Court of Appeal, and we are able to continue with the important work of implementing this long-term strategy to transform disabled people’s everyday lives for the better.

I further committed to providing the House with an update in September on how this Government will take forward work on the strategy now that it has been found to be lawful.

The Government’s intention has always been to create more opportunities for disabled people to participate and thrive; to protect and promote the rights of disabled people; and to tackle the barriers that prevent disabled people from fully benefiting from, and contributing fully to, every aspect of our society.

The vast majority of departmental commitments outlined in the national disability strategy 2021 were not impacted by the High Court’s initial judgment. The Government have progressed well on delivering these and other commitments, as can be seen by all the Government’s achievements, as set out in my letter placed in the Library of the House in July.

I will place a note in the Library of the House to provide an update:

on how the Government now propose to take this the 14 commitments that were paused to comply with the High Court’s declaration; and

on all departmental commitments in the national disability strategy. This includes details as to whether the individual commitments have been delivered or are in progress. There are 47 commitments that have been “completed”, 54 commitments “in progress”, one that is currently “paused”, and two that are no longer being taken forward.

In parallel with taking forward the commitments in the national disability strategy, the Government are also pressing ahead with our disability action plan, focused on concrete actions to improve disabled people’s lives in 2023 and 2024.

I am pleased to confirm that on 18 July 2023 we published the disability action plan consultation. The disability action plan consultation is open for 12 weeks and responses can be submitted until 6 October. The consultation document sets out a number of proposals and consultation questions—informed by the experiences of disabled people, research and the current policy landscape—as an initial step to make sure policy development direction is correct. The findings of this consultation will inform the final published disability action plan.

Taken together, the national disability strategy and the disability action plan set out a complementary, ambitious programme of work across Government to improve disabled people’s lives in the short, medium and long term. I will continue to work with my ministerial disability champion colleagues across Government to drive progress against these commitments and to make the greatest possible positive impact for disabled people.