United Response has long campaigned for the inclusion of disabled people in public debate and believes that spreading the message about the realities of living with disabilities can help bolster equality.

So we were thrilled to see Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC) launch, ‘UK Disabled People’s Manifesto: Reclaiming Our Futures’, which calls on the government to set goals to achieve inclusion ahead of the 2015 general election.

The manifesto states that: “There are 11 million disabled people in the UK. We want to see a society that supports and enables full citizenship for all. A well-resourced and efficient welfare infrastructure is achievable. Disabled people must have the enforceable right to live independently and to live a life of full inclusion, spontaneity, choice, family, friends, education, work and community”.

Enforcing this sense of independence while maintaining a supportive environment is vital to disabled people’s sense of inclusion within society. It can be done in a number of ways; through education, housing and employment, among other things, and these core provisions are key to our work with the people we support. This includes working with people to help them to learn about and follow the fast-paced changes in the world, helping them to contribute to political conversations as well as gain a deeper understanding of current affairs and how these affect them.

Earlier this year, we launched Easy News, which we believe is the first truly accessible newspaper for people with learning disabilities as a way of enabling them to participate in public debate in an informed way; an important step towards greater social involvement. A recent report from our Campaigns Panel found that many people wanted a fair representation of disability in the media and wanted them to be seen to be doing ordinary things as well as discussing issues which affect them directly.

One such issue is housing, particularly given the ongoing debate around the controversial bedroom tax. We work with the people we support to find long-term housing options to encourage them to live as independently as possible while offering crucial support and an individualized service based on a person’s specific needs. DPAC’s manifesto has called for “the creation and implementation of specific independent living law” in line with the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities to allow disabled people a sense of control over their own lives and a dignity in the way they choose to live as individuals.

Ultimately, this manifesto calls for disabled people to be treated in a dignified and fair way that encourages participation while recognizing and respecting our differences. The fight for an inclusive society continues, and it is up to our leaders to support this change.


Gemma Taylor, media assistant.