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Disability: Equality

Volume 684: debated on Thursday 13 July 2006

My honourable friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (Anne McGuire) has made the following Statement.

The Government's Office for Disability Issues (ODI) has today published its first annual report to the Prime Minister, which details the progress that is being made towards realising the Government's ambitious vision for real equality for disabled people by 2025. Copies of the report are available in the Vote Office and Printed Paper Office.

The ODI was launched in December 2005 to deliver the strategy set out in the Prime Minister's Strategy Unit report, Improving the Life Chances of Disabled People. Since then, the ODI has successfully formed partnerships with internal and external stakeholders and driven forward an ambitious programme of work.

This first report highlights a broad range of initiatives that are starting to address the barriers disabled people experience in accessing services, including housing, transport, justice and leisure. For example, through the individual budgets pilots, we are testing out new ways of giving people more choice and control over the way they are supported. Three pilot sites in Oldham, Essex and West Sussex are already testing this new way of working, with the remaining 10 sites to come on stream this month.

The report provides an update on action against all the recommendations in the Life Chances report and makes clear what further activity is necessary to deliver improved outcomes for disabled people. One key area where Government need to do much more is in involving disabled people in the design and delivery of services which impact on their lives. The ODI's report provides information on our progress in developing a UK advisory network on disability equality, which will be established from later this year.

I commend this report to the House.