Public transport disability
The Disability Action Plan invites suggestions to make British society more inclusive and disabled friendly including travel, culture, education and sports. iStock

The lives of disabled people in the UK are up for a change as the UK government launched an initiative called the Disability Action Plan on July 18. In its nascent now the government has invited ideas and opinions from experts and public members alike in a consultation plan which will be used to make the lives of disabled people in the country better and easier.

More awareness and facilities for the disabled

As part of this plan, ministers have suggested ways to make British society more inclusive in the long term so that disabled people can fit in easily. This includes raising awareness about disabilities and the availability of life-changing technology for disabled people.

In order to make public spaces more disabled people-friendly taxi drivers have to undertake mandatory disability awareness training. Also, cultural and heritage sites across the country will have autism-friendly programmes.

Other immediate and practical measures proposed in the consultation include making businesses aware of the needs of disabled people so that they can take adequate steps. Facilities like Guide Dog Access will help disabled people to work, shop and live freely. The government will support local authorities to build more inclusive playgrounds where disabled children can easily access and fit in.

All the proposals in the consultation will be used to build the Disability Action Plan to be released later this year. The Disability Action Plan will form the basis of future ways of dealing with problems faced by disabled people. It's the foundation stone for better disability-friendly laws and guidelines.

According to the Family Resources Survey done by the government, Britain has 14.6 million disabled people in the 2020-21 financial year. The percentage of disabled people increased by four per cent to touch 22 per cent from 18 per cent of 2010-11 period.

Measures proposed in the plan

The following proposals are included in the Disability Action Plan

  • Increasing the portfolio and profile of assistive technology used by disabled people in order to make more life-changing technologies available to them.
  • Forming legislation for better transport options for disabled people. Legislation would be passed to make disability awareness training mandatory for taxi drivers and private hire drivers. This would allow disabled people to travel freely.
  • Making cultural and heritage sites more disabled-friendly by encouraging them to include autism-friendly programs.
  • Making the courts and the legal system more inclusive and diverse by improving and adjusting its system so that more disabled people can take part in jury duty.
  • Implementing British Sign Language (BSL) in GCSE so that students can learn how to communicate with disabled people and get the necessary visual memory skills. This comes after a year since the BSL Act was introduced. This might help Britain to host the 2031 Special Olympics World Summer Games.

Along with the National Disability Strategy, the Disability Action Plan will provide the long-term vision necessary to better the lives of people with disabilities.

Giving disabled people a voice in decision-making

Speaking about the Disability Action Plan, the UK Minister for Disabled People, Health and Work, Tom Pursglove MP, said that this plan suggests practical measures needed to improve the lives of disabled people.

The plan will set the stage for long-term development in this sector. Strategies like better assistive technology and enhanced inclusivity in travel, culture and sports will help the country lead globally, said Pursglove.

The government wants the disabled people at the centre of decision making and this consultation provides them a voice in helping the government create short-term plans, Pursglove said while encouraging people to send in their views.

The Disability Action Plan is open for consultation for the next 12 weeks and people and organisations can send in their views and opinions.

An extension of last year's work

The Disability Action Plan is based on the UK government's work in advancing the rights of disabled people in education, leisure and work in the last year. That includes the passage of the British Sign Language (BSL) Act and the Down Syndrome Act. A consultation for including a new BSL in GCSE was also part of the work done last year.

The government opened 2000 miles of the King Charles III England Coast Path to disabled people. £1 billion in funding has been allocated for the education of disabled children and youngsters.

The consultation is open to the public till October 6.