On 16 May 2024, the House of Lords is scheduled to debate the following motion:

Baroness Hughes of Stretford (Labour) to move that this House takes note of the challenges faced by those with disabilities including access to benefits, work, education, housing and healthcare.

1. How many people in the UK have a disability?

Nearly one in four (16.1 million) people in the UK had a disability in 2022/23, based on analysis from the Department for Work and Pensions’ family resources survey (FRS).[1] The FRS uses the definition of disability in the Equality Act 2010. This states that a person has a disability if they have a physical or mental impairment and that impairment “has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on [the person’s] ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities”.[2]

Amongst disabled working-age adults the most prevalent impairment type reported were mental health impairments, with 47% reporting this kind of impairment. The second most prevalent type of impairment were mobility impairments at 41%. For state pension age adults with a disability, the most common impairment type were mobility impairments at 69%. The second most prevalent impairment type was a stamina, breathing or fatigue impairment at 46%. Among disabled children the most common impairment type was a social or behavioural impairment at 50%.

2. Rights of people with disabilities

Disability is a protected characteristic under the Equality Act 2010, which provides legal protections against discrimination on the grounds of disability.[3] The UK is party to the ‘Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities’ (CRPD), which it ratified in 2009.[4] There are eight guiding principles that underlie the CRPD:

  • respect for inherent dignity, individual autonomy including the freedom to make one’s own choices, and independence of persons
  • non-discrimination
  • full and effective participation and inclusion in society
  • respect for difference and acceptance of persons with disabilities as part of human diversity and humanity
  • equality of opportunity
  • accessibility
  • equality between men and women
  • respect for the evolving capacities of children with disabilities and respect for the right of children with disabilities to preserve their identities[5]

Whilst the CRPD has not been incorporated into UK domestic law, the UK government has said that the Equality Act 2010 provides protections for people with a disability:

Although the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities is not incorporated into domestic law, the Equality Act 2010 provides, in domestic legislation, protections for people in Great Britain against discrimination, harassment, or victimisation, because of any of the nine protected characteristics set out in the Act—which include disability.

The Equality Act 2010 also includes the public sector equality duty, to promote equality of opportunity for all. Public sector bodies bound by the duty must consider the impact of their key decisions on, among others, disabled people. Equivalent provisions for Northern Ireland are set out in a range of devolved legislation.[6]

For further information on the Equality Act 2010 and disability, see the House of Lords Library briefing ‘The Equality Act 2010: Impact on disabled people’ (14 June 2022).

2.1 Reports from the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

Article 6 of the optional protocol to the CRPD allows for the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities to work with a state party to investigate concerns in cases where the committee has received “reliable information indicating grave or systematic violations by a state party of rights set forth in the convention”.[7] In 2016, the committee opened an inquiry on the UK under article 6. In 2017 it released a report presenting its findings.[8] The committee considered that there was “reliable evidence that the threshold of grave or systematic violations of the rights of persons with disabilities has been crossed in the state party”.[9] The committee based its conclusion on several findings, including the following:

  • The state party has implemented a policy aimed at reforming its welfare system and the reforms have been justified in the context of austerity measures to achieve consolidation of fiscal and budgetary policy.
  • The impact assessments conducted by the state party prior to the implementation of several measures of its welfare reform expressly foresaw an adverse impact on persons with disabilities.
  • Evidence gathered nationally by Parliament, the independent monitoring framework, universities and research institutes and centres and independent experts, shows the adverse and disproportionate effects of the welfare reform measures on persons with disabilities.[10]

A number of additional documents have been published since this initial report, including responses by the UK to the committee’s report.[11] In a follow-up report submitted by the UK in September 2022 the UK government said it and the devolved administrations “share a strong commitment to support and improve the lives of disabled people”.[12] It also stated that in line with the public sector equality duty the government “carefully considers the equality impacts of policies on those sharing protected characteristics, in line with both its legal obligations and its strong commitment to fairness” and set out how it was addressing recommendations of the committee. On 22 March 2024, the committee published a follow up report in which it said “no significant progress has been made in the state party concerning the situation of persons with disabilities addressed in the inquiry proceedings”.[13] It stated that while some measures had been taken to address its recommendations there were also “signs of regression in the standards and principles of the convention”. The committee asked the UK to submit a report by March 2029 to update it on the implementation of the committee’s recommendations.

At business of the House questions in the House of Commons on 9 May 2024, the Leader of the House, Penny Mordaunt, was asked by Debbie Abrahams (Labour MP for Oldham East and Saddleworth) about holding a government debate on discrimination against disabled people by the government. Debbie Abrahams referenced the report from the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Penny Mordaunt replied that international criticism of the UK was wrong:

I have to say that, in my experience, the criticism of this country by many organisations, particularly international ones including people from nations that provide very little support for disabled people, is quite wrong. I could point to many aspects of the work that has been done in many departments to support disabled people in every walk of life. This is a matter that should concern everyone because most disability is acquired, whether from the built environment or in relation to work. We have enabled 1 million people with a disability to get into work and have the dignity of a pay packet because of our change of approach on welfare and support. There are many other examples and I think we have a good record over many years.[14]

Penny Mordaunt said that there was “always more to do” and she would alert relevant government ministers about the call for a debate.

3. Challenges faced by people with a disability when accessing services

3.1 Barriers to accessing services

The challenges faced by a person with disabilities in accessing services can vary depending upon the types of service and the nature of the barriers that person faces. The World Health Organisation (WHO) states that it is the existence of barriers that create disability.[15] It has described barriers as:

Factors in a person’s environment that, through their absence or presence, limit functioning and create disability. These include aspects such as:

  • a physical environment that is not accessible
  • lack of relevant assistive technology (assistive, adaptive, and rehabilitative devices)
  • negative attitudes of people towards disability
  • services, systems and policies that are either nonexistent or that hinder the involvement of all people with a health condition in all areas of life[16]

The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDCP) has said that often multiple barriers can occur at once. It has described the seven most common barriers as follows:[17]

  • Attitudinal. These barriers include stereotyping and stigma, prejudice and discrimination. For example, the CDCP describes stereotyping as an assumption that the quality of life of someone with an impairment must be poor.
  • Communication. These barriers may be experienced by people who have impairments that impact their communication. They include written messages that mean people with visual impairments may not be able to receive the information or the use of “technical language, long sentences, and words with many syllables” which may present a barrier to people with cognitive impairments.
  • Physical. Physical barriers prevent or block a person’s mobility or prevent access to something. For example, “steps and curbs that block a person with mobility impairment from entering a building or using a sidewalk”. Physical barriers may also block access to services, for example “mammography equipment that requires a woman with mobility impairment to stand”.
  • Policy. These barriers are “frequently related to a lack of awareness or enforcement of existing laws and regulations that require programs and activities be accessible to people with disabilities”.
  • Programmatic. Programmatic barriers inhibit the delivery of public health programmes for people with different types of impairment. The CDCP gives examples including a lack of accessible equipment and “insufficient time set aside for medical examination and procedures”.
  • Social. These barriers are “related to the conditions in which people are born, grow, live, learn, work and age—or social determinants of health—that can contribute to decreased functioning among people with disabilities”. The CDCP gives examples including that people with disabilities were less likely to be employed.
  • Transportation. Transportation barriers interfere with a person’s ability to be independent, for example a person with visual impairments may not be able to drive and therefore a “lack of access to accessible or convenient transportation” would be a barrier.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) conducted qualitative research that examined the experiences people with disabilities had with activities, goods and services in the UK.[18] The findings reflected the barriers listed by the CDCP above, including:

[…] physical access, restrictive building layouts, inaccessible online services, poor information provision and inflexible design of customer services that do not consider accessibility for a broad range of needs.[19]

The ONS said the barriers reported by participants related to three key areas:

  • the physical design of the built environment
  • the digital design of online services
  • the design of systems and processes

Amongst the research’s main findings were that people with disabilities often had to make “extensive” preparations and had to develop workarounds when interacting with “difficult-to-access services”. Sometimes people had to rely on friends and family for support. These efforts incurred physical, emotional and financial costs. The research also found that people with invisible impairments “could face a conflict between needing support but not wanting to have to identify themselves as disabled to access it”. This was because they were concerned about negative stereotypes around disability and external judgement.

The ONS said that people had identified the following as priorities for future service provision:

  • physical and online environments being appropriate for a wide range of impairments and offering flexibility in recognising and accommodating needs
  • involving disabled people in policy and service decisions that impact their lives
  • increasing awareness and empathy for people with a range of impairments
  • providing meaningful, readily-available help for disabled people when accessing activities, goods and services[20]

Government disability action plan 2023 to 2024


The government has recently consulted on plans to improve the lives of disabled people. It has stated that it wants to improve access for people with disabilities and address barriers:

We want to tackle the barriers that prevent disabled people from fully benefiting from and engaging in our society. That means making this country the most accessible place in the world for disabled people to live, work and thrive.[21]

The government consulted on a proposed disability action plan between July and October 2023.[22] The action plan itself was published on 5 February 2024.[23]

The disability action plan sits alongside the ‘National disability strategy’, which sets out the government’s long-term vision to reduce barriers and “transform disabled people’s lives for the better”.[24] The disability action plan sets out actions the government intends to take in 2024. It sets out 32 actions over the following 14 areas:

  • support disabled people who want to be elected to public office
  • include disabled people’s needs in emergency and resilience planning
  • include disabled people’s needs in climate-related policies
  • improve information and outcomes for families in which someone is disabled
  • make playgrounds more accessible
  • help businesses understand the needs of and deliver improvements for disabled people
  • explore if the UK could host the Special Olympics World Summer Games
  • support people who have guide and assistance dogs
  • help the government measure how effective its policies and services are for disabled people
  • research issues facing disabled people in the future
  • make government publications and communications more accessible
  • improve understanding of the cost of living for disabled people
  • promote better understanding of the UNCRPD [United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities] across government
  • monitor and report progress of the disability action plan

The national disability strategy was the subject of a judicial review where the High Court found that the government had not consulted effectively.[25] This was overturned by the Court of Appeal. Following the ruling the then minister for disabled people, health and work, Tom Pursglove, made a written statement saying that “the vast majority of departmental commitments outlined in the national disability strategy 2021 were not impacted by the High Court’s initial judgment”.[26] The government has set out its progress against the strategy in the following two documents:

The House of Commons Women and Equalities Committee is conducting an inquiry into the national disability strategy.[27] The committee has published two reports from the inquiry:

In an oral statement to the House of Commons on 5 February 2024, Mims Davies, minister for disabled people, health and work said that the government would provide Parliament with updates on the government’s progress in delivering the plan in six months’ and twelve months’ time.[29] The minister also set out what the government was doing in addition to the action plan and strategy:

As well as the disability action plan and the national disability strategy, the government are already delivering significant work in areas that disabled people have told us are a priority, including reforms to employment and welfare through ‘Transforming support’, the health and disability white paper, and the back to work plan, and improving health and social care through the ‘People at the heart of care’ white paper. Further ongoing work by departments includes cost of living support through ‘help for households’, as well as the SEND [special educational needs and disability] and alternative provision improvement plan.[30]

Responding for the Labour Party, Vicky Foxcroft said that the disability action plan contained “some positives” and that it attempted to address some of the barriers faced by people with disabilities.[31] However, she said there was a “glaringly obvious issue” that the plan did not address, which was the cost of living:

The top concern for disabled people now is the cost of living crisis—not my assumption but what disabled people are telling me and what charities are finding on the ground. A survey carried out by Sense found that 85% of people with complex disabilities are worried about the rising cost of living. The Royal National Institute of Blind People noted in its initial analysis of the plan that

“it’s disappointing there’s no mention of any…support measures to address the rising cost of living.”[32]

Vicky Foxcroft said disabled people had told her that the government’s disability cost of living payments “barely touched the sides”. She said the problem was made worse because “our current social security system puts disabled people through multiple upsetting and dehumanising assessments”.

The sections below discuss challenges faced by people with disabilities in accessing work and benefits, education, housing and healthcare. These are large subjects touching on many areas of people’s lives. Disabled people have diverse needs and the challenges they face are also varied. The information in sections 3.2 to 3.5 is indicative of some of these challenges. Similarly, the discussion of government policies in these areas is not exhaustive.

3.2 Work and benefits

The disability equality charity Scope has said that disabled people are almost twice as likely to be unemployed.[33] It has said that disabled jobseekers can face barriers when seeking employment, including from employers who believe it is “too difficult, risky, or expensive” to hire someone with disabilities. It has said all organisations need to understand the challenges faced by disabled jobseekers, change their attitudes on disability and remove access barriers. Scope has said the following are examples of barriers faced by jobseekers with disabilities:

  • jobs posted on platforms that are not compatible with assistive technology
  • lack of accessible entrances at interview venues, like no ramps
  • inaccessible interview tests and formats
  • negative attitudes about the abilities, skills, and capabilities of disabled people[34]

It has said that employers can help by:

  • raising awareness about disability
  • learning about accessibility
  • understanding disabled experiences
  • making a plan for disability inclusion[35]

As well as barriers in accessing the job market, Scope has also said that people with disabilities also have an increased cost of living:

The higher cost of specialist equipment, higher usage of everyday essentials and energy, and an inadequate welfare system, are all making it harder for disabled households to meet the extra cost of disability.[36]

The charity defines extra costs as the amount of extra money a household with at least one disabled adult or child would need to have the same standard of living as a non-disabled household. Scope has stated:

  • On average, disabled households (with at least one disabled adult or child) need an additional £975 a month to have the same standard of living as non-disabled households.
  • If this figure is updated to account for inflation over the current period 2022/2023, these extra costs rise to £1,122 per month.
  • On average, the extra cost of disability is equivalent to 63% of household income after housing costs.
  • The average extra costs rise to £1,248 per month where there are two disabled adults in the household and at least two children. And for households with one disabled adult, one non-disabled adult and at least one child, the average extra cost is £634.[37]

The figures accounted for disability benefit payments like personal independence payment (PIP).

People with disabilities are likely to earn less than people without disabilities. The ONS has most recently published data on the disability pay gap for 2021.[38]. This is the gap between median pay for disabled employees and non-disabled employees. It stood at 13.8% in 2021 and was 14.1% prior to the Covid-19 pandemic in 2019. The ONS has said that the gap has “widened slightly since 2014 when disabled employees earnt 11.7% less than non-disabled employees”. The pay gap also varied by the degree to which a person’s day-to-day activities were affected by their disability and the number of impairments they had. For example, the pay gap for people whose day-to-day activities were ‘limited a little’ earnt 12.1% less than non-disabled employees without a long-lasting health condition, and those whose day-to-day activities were ‘limited a lot’ earnt 19.9% less. People with more impairments experienced a greater pay gap. For example, people with six or more impairments earnt 19.5% less and people with one impairment earnt 11.7% less.

The pay gap also varies by impairment type. The ONS found that people with autism had the largest pay gap of any impairment type. For autism the pay gap with non-disabled people was 33.5%. However, when the ONS undertook modelling to try to account for other factors that may affect pay, such as sex, age, occupation and qualification level, the pay gap for different impairments changed. For some impairments this reduced the pay gap (for example autism, which saw the largest reduction, down to 9.9%) and for some it increased it (for example difficulty in seeing had a ‘raw’ pay gap of 0.0% but a modelled gap of 10.5%). A recent review of autism and employment by the former secretary of state for justice, Sir Robert Buckland, said that the large reduction in the size of the gap for autism suggested that the pay gap was largely the result of people with autism not being able to get into senior posts that were better paid.[39]

Government policies

The government’s policies to support people with disabilities to access work and benefits focus on supporting people to get into, and stay in, work. The Department for Work and Pensions set out the government’s plans to help people with disabilities “to start, stay and succeed in work” in its March 2023 white paper ‘Transforming support’.[40] In the foreword, Mel Stride, secretary of state for work and pensions and Tom Pursglove, then minister of state for disabled people, work and health, said that supporting people into work would help grow the economy and create better-paid jobs, one of the prime minister’s priorities. This included supporting people with disabilities into work:

This includes helping unemployed disabled people to move back into and remain in work, as well as focusing on the increasing number of people who are economically inactive because of a long-term health condition or disability. We know that many people would like to work with the right support. It also means looking at how we can better support people within the health and disability benefits system.[41]

They said that the white paper would achieve this in three ways, including through reform to the benefits system:

  • First, by investing to step up our employment support for disabled people and people with health conditions.
  • Second, by ensuring people can access the right support at the right time and have a better overall experience when applying for and receiving health and disability benefits.
  • Third, by reforming the benefits system for the future so it focuses on what people can do rather than on what they cannot.[42]

The white paper argued that the health and disability benefits system itself could be seen as a barrier to employment “because it focuses on what people cannot do, instead of what they can”. It stated that people could be dissuaded from seeking work because of a fear of losing their benefits. The government said it would remove the work capability assessment to help address this:

The current assessment process means you need to be found to have limited capability for work and limited capability to prepare for work to get additional income-related support for a disability or health condition.

This approach encourages people to see themselves as being unable to work and we know it can put people off from trying work or seeking employment support for fear of losing their benefits. We will give people confidence that they will receive support, for as long as it is needed, regardless of whether they are working. By removing the work capability assessment, we will ensure that those who are able to can progress in or towards work, without the worry of being reassessed and losing their benefits.[43]

The government has also announced wider policies to encourage people into work in its ‘back to work plan’.[44] The plan included expanding health and employment programmes “to benefit over half a million people over the next five years and help those with mental health conditions stay in or find work”. The government described them as follows:

  • NHS talking therapies—increasing the number of people benefitting from courses of mental health treatment by an additional 384,000 people over the next five years and increasing the number of sessions available. NHS talking therapies provides evidence based psychological therapies including cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), for treatment of mild and moderate mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety disorders.
  • Individual placement and support (IPS)—aiming to help an additional 100,000 people with severe mental illness to find and keep jobs over the next five years. IPS is an employment support programme integrated in community mental health services. IPS employment specialists: work with people accessing the service to find them employment that matches their aims, interests and skills, and offer continued support once they are in post; integrate with the mental health team to support the individual with any issues that affect their work and recovery; build relationships with employers to negotiate job opportunities.
  • Universal support in England and Wales—matching 100,000 people per year with existing vacancies and supporting them in their new role, an increase on the 50,000 people outlined at spring budget [2023], also helping people with disabilities and from vulnerable groups. Participants will access up to 12 months of personalised ‘place and train’ support. The individual will be supported by a dedicated keyworker who will help the participant find and keep a job, with up to £4,000 of funding available to provide each participant with training, help to manage health conditions or help for employers to make necessary accommodations to the person’s needs.
  • WorkWell—The service announced at spring budget 2023 is being formally launched to integrated care systems across England and will help support people at risk of falling into long-term unemployment due to sickness or disability, through integrated work and health support. Integrated care systems across England will be supported to develop a localised work and health strategy, and then services will be provided in approximately 15 pilot areas.[45]

The government also announced that the Department for Work and Pensions would be enforcing a stricter benefit sanctions regime:

Stricter benefit sanctions will also be enforced by the Department for Work and Pensions for people who are able to work but refuse to engage with their Jobcentre or take on work offered to them. Benefit claimants who continue to refuse to engage with the Jobcentre will face having their claim closed. The latest published data shows that there were 300,000 people who had been unemployed for over a year in the three months to July.[46]

At the spring budget 2024 the government said that it was providing additional funding to support the processing of disability benefits claims to “increase system capacity to meet increased demand, enabling people to get the right support in a timely manner”.[47]

On 29 April 2024, the government launched a consultation on reforms to personal independence payments (PIPs).[48] The consultation closes on 22 July 2024. The government has said its green paper, ‘Modernising support for independent living’, examines whether PIP could be reformed to improve how the government supports people:

We need to ensure we have a system that is sustainable and fair for all. PIP was designed as a contribution towards the extra costs faced by people with health conditions and disabilities to enable independent living. Some claimants will have considerable extra costs related to their disability; and others will have minimal costs. This green paper looks at whether there are ways we can improve how we support people, in a way that it is also fairer to the taxpayer than the current system.[49]

The government has argued that the UK’s “health landscape” has changed since PIP was introduced in 2013.[50]The press release for the consultation stated that the costs of disability benefits had increased and it specifically cited mental health conditions as being a factor in this rise in costs:

However, the caseload and costs are now spiralling. There are now 2.6 million people of working age claiming PIP and DLA [disability living allowance]—with 33,000 new awards for PIP each month which is more than double the rate before the pandemic. This is expected to cost the taxpayer £28bn a year by 2028/29—a 110% increase in spending since 2019.

This is in part fuelled by the rise in people receiving PIP for mental health conditions such as mixed anxiety and depressive disorders, with monthly awards doubling from 2,200 to 5,300 a month since 2019.[51]

The green paper states options being considered by the government include:

  • making changes to eligibility criteria for PIP
  • redesigning the PIP assessment to better target it towards the individual needs of disabled people and people with health conditions
  • reforming the PIP assessment so that it is more linked to a person’s condition[52]

The government’s approach to work and benefits has been criticised by some disability charities and organisations. Responding to the March 2023 white paper, Ken Butler, Disability Rights UK’s welfare rights and policy officer, said that whilst some disabled people feel able to work many do not:

The government says its research shows that 20% of people in the LCWRA [limited capability for work-related activity] group on UC [Universal Credit], or who are in the Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) Support Group, would like to work at some point in the future.

Conversely, this shows that 80% of disabled people in these groups do not feel that the nature and extent of their disability or health condition enables them to undertake employment.[53]

Whilst Mr Butler said employment programmes targeted at disabled people were broadly welcome, he was critical of the application of the benefits sanctions regimes:

Those disabled people who can work need support to do so, backed up by the provision of reasonable adjustments by employers. However those disabled people who can’t work or can only work limited hours need protection from sanctions.

The new employment programmes targeted at disabled people are welcomed but these need to be co-produced by disabled people with disabled people’s organisations involved in their implementation.

What is not needed is the removal of no work conditionality with its replacement by a sanctions regime.[54]

The approach of the April 2024 ‘Modernising support for independent living’ green paper has also been similarly criticised. For example, the Disability Poverty Campaign Group has expressed concern that the government was “intentionally misrepresenting the realities of the disability benefits system, and the reasons why the benefits system is being increasingly relied upon by disabled people in financial need”.[55] It said it wanted to remind politicians that “PIP is not an out-of-work benefit: disabled people in full-time employment can be, and are, assessed as eligible for PIP”. One of the proposals being consulted on in the green paper is the potential use of vouchers to contribute towards specific costs. The Disability Poverty Campaign Group described the use of vouchers as “dehumanising”.

Quoted in a British Medical Journal news article, the British Medical Association’s mental health lead, Andrew Molodynski, was also critical of the government’s approach:

If the government wants to see fewer people unable to work due to poor mental health, the answer is not to blame individuals and strip away the support they need. This approach is as cruel as it is ineffective. The government would be better placed properly funding the critical health and social services that keep people healthy and tackling the record levels of poverty this country is facing.[56]

Scope said it was “deeply concerned” by the government’s proposals.[57] It said it was “hard to have any faith that this consultation is about anything other than cutting the benefits bill, no matter the impact on people’s lives”. The mental health charity Mind’s chief executive, Dr Sarah Hughes, said:

The PIP assessment is already an incredibly difficult process, and we are hearing from people living with mental health conditions that they are deeply concerned about the government’s proposed reforms. Taking away crucial financial support from people with mental health problems is not going [to] fix anything, it will make things worse.[58]

Dr Hughes said that if the government wanted to support people with mental health problems back into work “it would prioritise investment in our overstretched mental health service”.

3.3 Education

Data from the ONS’s release ‘Outcomes for disabled people in the UK: 2021’ (the most recent edition available) shows that disabled people are less likely than non-disabled people to have degree-level qualifications and are more likely to have no qualifications at all:

A quarter (24.9%) of disabled people aged 21 to 64 years had a degree or equivalent as their highest qualification, compared with 42.7% of non-disabled people. In addition, disabled people were almost three times as likely to have no qualifications (13.3%) than non-disabled people (4.6%). Disabled people were also more likely to have GCSE grades C and higher or equivalent as their highest form of qualification (23.3%), in comparison with non-disabled people (17.4%).[59]

The ONS has also undertaken qualitative research on the educational experiences, preferences and needs of young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) between the ages of 11 and 16 years.[60] Among the main points from the research, the ONS found that:

  • Participants felt that schools could be more responsive to young people’s needs through: providing more training to help staff identify needs and understand how best to meet them; ensuring support plans were appropriate, up to date and adhered to; being flexible around things like course load, access to safe spaces and uniforms; and ensuring teaching methods considered a range of learning styles and preferences.
  • Young participants, parents and carers reflected on how schools could promote inclusion, for example through school clubs and buddy systems to build friendship opportunities, recognising a range of achievements beyond academic grades, and raising awareness and understanding of needs and differences.
  • Parents and carers shared difficulties with navigating systems to ensure their child’s support needs were met, describing stressful, lengthy, complex and inconsistent processes to access appropriate schools and support plans, and calling for greater accountability to ensure guidelines are followed by local authorities.[61]

Support is available for children with SEND[62] and parents of children that may need further support can ask their local authority for an education, health and care (EHC) plan.[63] EHC plans identify a child’s social, educational and health needs and outline additional support to meet those needs. Disability Rights UK has said the “fight to secure EHCs is enormous and delivery is far from guaranteed”.[64] In 2023, 4.3% of pupils had an EHC plan and the percentage with SEND support was 13.0%.[65] The Local Government Association (LGA) has said that despite additional funding, some local authorities were concerned that they would not be able to meet their statutory duties:

Whilst it is encouraging that the government has allocated additional funding of £780mn for high needs budgets in 2022/23, it isn’t enough to provide councils with long-term certainty and funding, particularly considering councils’ existing high needs block deficits which we estimate to be around £600mn.

There is simply not enough money to keep up with demand, leaving many councils concerned that they will be unable to meet their statutory duties and meaning children with high needs or disabilities could miss out on a mainstream education.[66]

The LGA set out the following issues as being behind the “unprecedented demand” for additional SEND support:

  • More pupils: School census data shows that between 2014 and 2018 the number of pupils in all schools in England grew by just over 600,000—an increase of 7.5 per cent, with some local areas having experienced much higher population growth than others.
  • A change in expectations: The Children’s and Families Act 2014 rightly raised the expectations of parents and the aspirations of pupils through a[n] existing code of SEND practice expecting all children to receive the best possible education and support.
  • Extended eligibility: Many more young people aged 16 to 25 are now on EHC plans.
  • More children with complex needs: Advances in life expectancy, more awareness and better diagnoses means there are now more children and young people with needs that are difficult to meet within mainstream schools.
  • Current secondary school attainment measures: Do not currently reward schools with a high degree of inclusion.[67]

The LGA said that specialist schools were also “largely full” and that local authorities had found it difficult to create new provision. It said that around 50% of pupils with EHCs were being educated in specialist schools over the last five years. Pupils often had to travel and relied on independent provision:

Many have to travel long distances, at great expense to councils, often to more costly independent provision, as a result of earlier cuts to specialist services. We are now in the second year in which there are more children and young people with EHC plans in such schools than there are in mainstream education.[68]

The LGA has said it welcomed the government’s SEND review but “it must take into consideration the importance of councils and a local approach”.

Disability Rights UK’s policy and campaigns office, Bethany Bale, has described SEND provision as “in crisis”. She said that “the government must urgently stop gatekeeping support for disabled pupils and instead invest the resources needed to enable them to reach their full potential”.[69]

Government policies

The government has said that it is committed to improving outcomes for children and young people with SEND.[70] Between March and July 2022 the government consulted on a green paper about SEND and alternative provision (AP) in England. In March 2023 the government published its ‘SEND and alternative provision improvement plan’, which included the government’s response to the feedback it received on its green paper.[71]

A number of charities and organisations responded to the plan’s publication. The British Dyslexia Association said it welcomed the plan but that whilst the plan “gets a lot of the ‘what’ right, there is scarce detail on the ‘how’”.[72] It said it was concerned about a number of elements, including:

  • Lack of short-term solutions: relying on ongoing review and consultation
  • Failure to address chronic underfunding in schools
  • Failure to ensure all schools can access training about assistive technology

Ali Fiddy, CEO of Independent Provider of Special Education Advice (IPSEA), a charity that provides free legal advice to support families with children with SEND, said “it’s hard to see how the imperative of containing costs can be met without restricting the provision that children and young people receive, which is unlikely to be lawful”.[73] Ali Fiddy said that the plan did not address “the persistent non-compliance with the law by many local authorities” which she said was “at the root of the SEND crisis”.

The Local Government Association (LGA) said that councils shared the government’s ambition to ensure high-quality support was available to every child with SEND.[74] The LGA said that it was concerned that “the improvement plan does not include proposals to give councils additional powers to be able to lead SEND systems effectively”. It said:

We do not believe it would be possible or desirable for the Department for Education (DfE) or Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC) to build the capacity and expertise to hold partners to account in the detail needed for co-operation on both developing and delivering the local plans. Councils, education settings and Integrated Care Boards (ICBs) must instead be accountable to each other, not Whitehall.[75]

It also said it was concerned that the speed of improvements may not be able to match the expectations of families and carers:

We are concerned that the improvement plan will raise the expectations of children with SEND, as well as their parents and carers of what a reformed SEND system will be able to deliver and by when (“we have especially listened to the views of children and young people with SEND and in alternative provision, and their families.” Paragraph 5, page 17). Parental confidence in a new SEND system will be crucial if it is to work effectively and the Government must be careful to manage expectations with regards to the pace of reform given the planned timetable.[76]

A March 2024 article by the Department for Education said that the government had been delivering against the plan over the past year and was rolling out measures “to ensure the educational system meets the needs of all children and young people”.[77] This included:

  • Further investment. The Department for Education said it was investing £850mn into local authorities to improve services. The authorities could use the funds for different purposes, including improving the accessibility of school buildings. This funding was part of a £2.6bn package the government had committed to improve SEND services between 2022 and 2025. This would provide 60,000 new places for children or young people with SEND or who require AP. The government had also allocated £13mn to mainstream schools to support neurodiverse children.
  • Additional special free schools. The government said whilst reasonable adjustments could work for some children, others might need to be educated in a specialist setting. The special free schools programme would increase the number of these schools. The government said that 108 of these schools were now open with 92 opening in “due course”. This included 30 new applications to run special free schools.
  • Supporting apprentices with SEND. The government launched a mentoring support pilot for apprentices with SEND in January 2024. It said that it had also piloted provision to allow students to take English and maths at entry level 3, regardless of whether they had an EHC plan. Normally students needed a level 2 qualification, but the government said it was aware that this could then be a barrier to students with SEND completing apprenticeships.

3.4 Housing

The disability rights organisation Disability Rights UK has described the housing sector as “a dangerous mess” for disabled people.[78] It has said that housing in the private rented sector has problems with accessibility, issues with disrepair, dangerous homes and “poor behaviour from landlords”. It has said that the social housing sector also has unacceptable conditions and costs.

Disability Rights UK has said that of the new homes expected to be built by 2030 outside London, only 23% are planned to be accessible. It has also stated that 1% of homes outside London “are set to be suitable for wheelchair users despite 1.2 million wheelchair users”. The organisation has set out key issues it would like to see addressed, including the implementation of personal emergency evacuation plans (PEEPs).[79] It has also called on the government to address issues of affordability in the housing sector, including rent freezes and eviction bans in the short-term.

Data from the ONS shows that disabled people are more likely to live in rented social housing and less likely to own their own home then non-disabled people:

In the year ending June 2021, 24.9% of disabled people aged 16 to 64 years rented social housing compared with only 7.9% of non-disabled people. This was consistent with 2020. In 2021, disabled people were less likely to own their own home (39.7%) or to live with parents (16.4%) than non-disabled people (53.3% and 19.2% respectively).[80]

The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) has described the UK as having an “accessible housing crisis” which is getting worse.[81] RICS has said that even those with access to greater than average income require support with accessible housing:

Of the 1.8 million disabled people in the UK with an accessible housing need, 700,000 have incomes within the top 50% of the income distribution. While this dispels the myth that disability automatically necessitates financial support, it also shows that private money alone doesn’t solve the accessible housing crisis.[82]

RICS referred to work by an academic at Newcastle University, stating that accessibility needed to be considered from the start:

Dr Dominic Aitken, a research associate at Newcastle University, has written about the insurance risk theory relating to accessibility in homes. Put simply, housing is already complex enough, and we don’t include accessibility in our decision-making criteria assuming that it will be dealt with if and when the need arises. This is deeply flawed because, by then, it’s already too late—and too expensive.[83]

The House of Commons Levelling Up, Housing and Communities Committee is currently conducting an inquiry into disabled people in the housing sector.[84] The committee is examining the role of the government, local councils and developers in the provision of housing that is suitable for people with disabilities. It is also looking at what can be done by the government to support people in the private rented sector in England and the compatibility of the national planning policy framework (NPPF) with the Equality Act 2010.

Several organisations have provided written evidence to the committee.[85] The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) argued that England’s housing stock was not suitable for the diverse and changing needs of the population and that new homes often did not meet high standards of accessibility.[86] It said it was pleased by the government’s announcement that all new homes must be compliant with part M4(2) of the Building Regulations, but it said there was “still a great deal of work to undertake to meaningfully centre disabled people in the housing sector”. In 2020, the government consulted on plans to raise the accessibility standards for new homes. It published its response to the consultation in July 2022, in which it said that it would “consult further on the technical changes to the Building Regulations to mandate the higher M4(2) accessibility standard, changes to ADM [approved document M] (volume 1) and on our approach to how exceptions will apply”.[87] Part M of the building regulations sets minimum access standards for all new homes:

  • Requirement M4(1) sets basic standards for all new buildings. Known as “Category 1: Visitable dwellings”.
  • Requirement M4(2), introduced in 2015, sets a higher standard for accessible homes, which is broadly equivalent to the Lifetime Homes Standard. Known as “Category 2: Accessible and adaptable dwellings”.
  • Requirement M4(3) sets a standard for wheelchair accessible homes. Known as “Category 3: Wheelchair user dwellings”.[88]

The government has said that the M4(2) standard “requires additional features including having a living area at entrance level and step-free access to all entrance level rooms and facilities, wider doorways and corridors as well as clear access routes to reach windows”. The government has said that the M4(3) standard “is achieved when a new dwelling provides reasonable provisions for a wheelchair user to live in the dwelling and have the ability to use any private outdoor space, parking and communal facilities”.

In oral evidence to the House of Commons Levelling Up, Housing and Communities Committee on 18 March 2024, Felicity Buchan, parliamentary under secretary of state at the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, said that the government would be mandating M4(2) as the new standard but the government needed to do a “technical consultation” on how it would be implemented and any exceptions to the rule.[89]

Where homes are not accessible at the point of construction, disabled facilities grants (DFG) may be available from the local authority to allow people to make changes to their home.[90] This may include changes such as widening doorways or building a downstairs bedroom. In its written evidence to the House of Commons Levelling Up, Housing and Communities Committee, the National Residential Landlords Association (NRLA) said that there was a significant difference in the number of people benefiting from DFGs in the social housing sector compared with those in the private rented sector (PRS):

In 2021 to 2022, 37% of DFG allocations went to households in the social sector, while 7% went to those in the PRS. Whilst this in part reflects a greater prevalence of tenants managing a long-term illness or disability in the social sector (54% compared to 30% in the PRS), DFG allocation to the PRS has remained consistently low, averaging just 7% since 2009/20108, despite the sector’s expansion over the past decade.[91]

The NRLA said that where landlords were made aware of DFGs, “most landlords (68%) expressed an openness to investing in adaptations with the DFG”. In its call for evidence, the committee said there was a lack of information on the location of adapted properties in the private rented sector. The NRLA said that changes to DFG guidance could help address this:

To aid the understanding of the number and types of properties that are adapted at the local level, DFG guidance should encourage local authorities to collect key metrics on those who have benefited from DFG funding. This should include the number of adapted properties by tenure, the location of the dwelling, and the type of adaptation installed. Given local authorities are responsible for its allocation, they are best placed to compile a database of adapted properties in the sector.[92]

Government policies

When she gave oral evidence to the House of Commons Levelling Up, Housing and Communities Committee, as well as talking about the technical consultation on mandating the M4(2) standard, Felicity Buchan, set out some of the government’s policies for disabled people in the housing sector. She said the government had increased the amount of money for DFGs by £102mn over the past two years, meaning that it would be £625mn in 2024/25. She described this as “a substantial amount of money”.[93] She said that the Social Housing (Regulation) Act 2023 would “absolutely change the relationship between tenants and their social housing providers” in a way that would be “very good for disabled people”. She also referred to reforms the government is currently introducing in the private rented sector.[94]

Certain other schemes may also be open to people with disabilities to help with housing-related costs, for example the disabled band reduction scheme which can reduce council tax bills to the next lowest band.[95] Other sources of financial support for homes and housing include universal credit.[96]

In terms of the availability of suitable housing for disabled people, the government has said that local planning authorities should assess local needs:

The national planning policy framework sets out that local authorities should assess the size, type and tenure of housing needed for different groups in the community. It is for local planning authorities to assess local needs, including needs for older people and people with disabilities, and make provision in their local plans.[97]

3.5 Healthcare

A journal article in BMJ Open, based on data from 2013 and 2014, found that people with disabilities reported worse access to health care, citing transportation, costs, and long waiting lists as the main barriers. The authors said this was concerning because people with disabilities may have higher healthcare needs yet faced increased barriers in accessing healthcare services. The research found that in the category ‘unmet need for mental healthcare due to cost’ people with a severe disability were 4.5 times more likely to face a problem.[98] In the category ‘unmet need due to cost of prescribed medicine’ people with a mild disability were 3.6 times more like to face a problem. Women with a disability were 7.2 times more likely to have unmet needs due to cost of care or medication, compared with men with no disability.

More recent research has also found that medical appointments may present particular barriers to people with complex disabilities. Sense, a charity supporting people who are deafblind or who have complex disabilities, has conducted research on how accessible people with complex disabilities find healthcare settings.[99] Sense said that despite the existence of the ‘accessible information standard’[100] many people with complex disabilities reported communication challenges:

  • 34% of people with complex disabilities are rarely or never asked about what they need to make their appointments accessible.
  • 19% of people said that they rarely or never get appointment letters in a format they understand.
  • 25% of people with complex disabilities said they rarely or never have communication support arranged for them if they need it.[101]

Sense said that 19% of people with complex disabilities had told them that “staff rarely or never meet their needs at medical appointments”, and 21% reported that their medical appointments “rarely or never happen in a way that is accessible to them”.

The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic has been particularly pronounced for those with a disability. The ONS has reported that people with a disability in the UK have been more likely to die as a result of Covid-19.[102] In addition, the ONS found the negative social impacts of the pandemic, such as negative mental health impacts, have been greater for disabled people.[103] The House of Commons Women and Equalities Committee has examined the pandemic and access to services by disabled people.[104] The committee chair, Caroline Nokes said:

Disabled people who already faced substantial barriers to equal participation in society have suffered a range of profoundly adverse effects. They have faced problems with unequal access to food, and potentially discriminatory practices in health and social care services.[105]

The King’s Fund has said that whilst the impact of the pandemic on disabled people is “shocking”, the statistics reflected “multiple inequalities that disabled people have faced and continue to face in British society”.[106] Research conducted by The King’s Fund and Disability Rights UK has examined how disabled people are currently involved in the design of the health and care system. It said that “health inequalities disabled people already faced were made worse by the pandemic and a decade of austerity”. It said it was therefore important for disabled people to be included in the design and planning of health and care system responses. The key messages from the research included:

  • Health and care services need to understand the broad diversity of disabled people’s identities and experiences, and adopt a social model approach to disability, understanding that people are disabled by barriers in society, rather than by impairments or health conditions.
  • Health and care professionals need to value disabled people’s expertise through properly recognising the value of lived experience and ensure disabled people’s voices are central to any plans right from the start.
  • Disabled people’s organisations (DPOs) can strengthen their impact by working with other local DPOs and user-led organisations, understanding which parts of health and care systems they can best influence, and supporting health and care organisations to meaningfully engage with disabled people.[107]

Reasonable adjustments can help patients with disabilities access healthcare services. NHS England explains that reasonable adjustments could include:

  • making sure there is wheelchair access in hospitals
  • providing easy read appointment letters
  • giving someone a priority appointment if they find it difficult waiting in their GP surgery or hospital
  • longer appointments if someone needs more time with a doctor or nurse to make sure they understand the information they are given[108]

NHS Digital has developed a ‘reasonable adjustment flag’.[109] This is a national record “that shows a person needs accommodations and may include details about their impairments and necessary adjustments”. NHS Digital says the flag has the following benefits:

  • The flag is immediately visible (to reception staff, as permitted by local role-based access controls) when the patient is referred or presents for care, often when no other information is available.
  • It will ensure that details of impairments and other key information (such as communication requirements) are shared consistently across the NHS—with patient consent.
  • Supports carers to feel less stressed by informing them of adjustments to services.
  • It can help to reduce stress both for the patient and those treating them.
  • Specialist teams will be able to set the flag—driving up the number of patients recorded on registers, who are identified for and can benefit from adjustments. This will help screening services to adapt services to ensure patients receive screening.
  • It satisfies legal obligations under the Equality Act 2010 and NHS contracts and as defined in the NHS Long Term Plan.[110]

Government policies

The government said the Department of Health and Social Care “is committed to improving disabled people’s health and care outcomes”.[111] In particular, the strategy set out plans around social care, mental health and autism:

Alongside progressing plans to transform adult social care and modernise the Mental Health Act, the department will take further action to build the evidence base for longer-term improvements and to educate frontline staff.

DHSC’s refreshed autism strategy aims to improve the lives of autistic people and their families and carers in England. It builds on and replaces the preceding adult autism strategy ‘Think autism’, published in April 2014. It extends the scope of the strategy to children and young people for the first time.[112]

The strategy said the department committed to:

  • put disabled people front and centre in social care reform
  • strengthen the data and evidence base to support policies that will transform outcomes for disabled people
  • tackle the stigma and discrimination that disabled people face every day to improve quality of life and reduce inequalities
  • ensure that health and social care staff understand learning disability and autism to reduce health inequalities[113]

4. Read more

Cover image by Yomex Owo on Unsplash


  1. Department for Work and Pensions, ‘Family resources survey: Financial year 2022 to 2023’, 26 March 2024, section 5. The figures in section 1 of this briefing cover the UK but the focus of section 3 is largely on England as the areas of work and benefits, education, housing and healthcare are devolved. Return to text
  2. Equality Act 2010, section 6. Return to text
  3. HM Government, ‘Discrimination: Your rights’, accessed 9 May 2024. Return to text
  4. United Nations Human Rights Treaty Bodies, ‘UN treaty body database: Ratification status for CRPD—Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities’, accessed 2 May 2024. Return to text
  5. United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, ‘Guiding principles of the convention’, accessed 2 May 2024. Return to text
  6. House of Commons, ‘Written question: Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (187675)’, 9 June 2023. Return to text
  7. Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, article 6. Return to text
  8. UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, ‘Inquiry concerning the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland carried out by the committee under article 6 of the optional protocol to the convention (CRPD/C/15/4)’, 24 October 2017. Return to text
  9. As above, p 18. Return to text
  10. As above, p 19. Return to text
  11. See: UN Human Rights Treaty Bodies, ‘UN treaty body database’, accessed 10 May 2024. Return to text
  12. Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, ‘Inquiry concerning the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland conducted under article 6 of the optional protocol to the convention: Follow-up report submitted by the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (CRPD/C/GBR/FIR/1/Add.2)’, 5 May 2023, p 2. Return to text
  13. UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, ‘Report on follow-up to the inquiry concerning the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (CRPD/C/GBR/FUIR/1)’, 22 March 2024, p 13. Return to text
  14. HC Hansard, 9 May 2024, col 703. Return to text
  15. See for instance: World Health Organisation, ‘Global report on health equity for persons with disabilities’, December 2022, pp 3–4. Return to text
  16. World Health Organisation, ‘International classification of functioning, disability and health’, 2001, quoted in Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, ‘Disability barriers to inclusion’, 16 September 2020. Return to text
  17. As above. Return to text
  18. Office for National Statistics, ‘Disabled people’s experiences with activities, goods and services, UK: February to March 2022’, 18 July 2022. Return to text
  19. As above. Return to text
  20. As above. Return to text
  21. Disability Unit and Equality Hub, ‘Disability action plan’, 5 February 2024, CP 1014. Return to text
  22. Disability Unit and Equality Hub, ‘Disability action plan 2023 to 2024’, 5 February 2024. Return to text
  23. Disability Unit and Equality Hub, ‘Disability action plan’, 5 February 2024, CP 1014. Return to text
  24. Disability Unit and Equality Hub, ‘Disability action plan’, 5 February 2024, CP 1014. Return to text
  25. Vanessa Clarke, ‘Appeal court overturns disability strategy ruling’, BBC News, 11 July 2023. Return to text
  26. House of Commons, ‘Written ministerial statement: National disability strategy (HCWS1038)’, 18 September 2023. Return to text
  27. House of Commons Women and Equalities Committee, ‘National disability strategy’, accessed 9 May 2024. Return to text
  28. Large print and EasyRead versions are available from the committee’s website: ‘Reports, special reports and government responses: National disability strategy’, accessed 9 May 2024. Return to text
  29. HC Hansard, 5 February 2024, col 38. Return to text
  30. As above. Return to text
  31. HC Hansard, 5 February 2024, col 39. Return to text
  32. As above. Return to text
  33. Scope, ‘Understanding the challenges of disabled jobseekers’, 6 February 2023. Return to text
  34. As above. Return to text
  35. As above. Return to text
  36. Scope, ‘Disability price tag 2023: The extra cost of disability’, accessed 2 May 2024. Return to text
  37. As above. Return to text
  38. Office for National Statistics, ‘Disability pay gaps in the UK: 2021’, 25 April 2022. Return to text
  39. Sir Robert Buckland, ‘The Buckland review of autism employment: Report and recommendations’, 28 February 2024, para 7.7. The review was supported by Autistica and its secretariat was provided by the Department for Work and Pensions. Return to text
  40. Department for Work and Pensions, ‘Transforming support: The health and disability white paper’, 16 March 2023, CP 807. This followed the publication of a green paper in 2021: ‘Shaping future support: The health and disability green paper’, July 2021, CP 470. Return to text
  41. As above. Return to text
  42. As above. Return to text
  43. As above. Return to text
  44. HM Treasury et al, ‘Employment support launched for over a million people’, 16 November 2023. Return to text
  45. As above. Return to text
  46. As above. Return to text
  47. HM Treasury, ‘Spring budget 2024’, March 2024, HC 560 of session 2023–24, p 46. Return to text
  48. Department for Work and Pensions, ‘Disability benefits system to be overhauled as consultation launched on personal independence payment’, 29 April 2024. Return to text
  49. Department for Work and Pensions, ‘Modernising support for independent living: The health and disability green paper’, 29 April 2024, CP 1061, para 9. Return to text
  50. Department for Work and Pensions, ‘Disability benefits system to be overhauled as consultation launched on personal independence payment’, 29 April 2024. Return to text
  51. As above. Return to text
  52. Department for Work and Pensions, ‘Modernising support for independent living: The health and disability green paper’, 29 April 2024, CP 1061, para 11. Return to text
  53. Disability Rights UK, ‘Health and disability white paper: Support not sanctions needed, says DR UK’, 15 March 2023. Return to text
  54. As above. Return to text
  55. Disability Rights UK, ‘Disability Poverty Campaign Group statement on ‘Modernising support for independent living: The health and disability green paper’’, 30 April 2024. Return to text
  56. Adrian O’Dowd, ‘Plans to tighten up disability benefits are attacked by health and disability representatives’, British Medical Association (£), 30 April 2024. Return to text
  57. Scope, ‘The government’s proposed changes to personal independence payment (PIP) explained’, 30 April 2024. Return to text
  58. Mind, ‘Taking away crucial support will “make things worse”’, 29 April 2024. Return to text
  59. Office for National Statistics, ‘Outcomes for disabled people in the UK: 2021—education’, 10 February 2022. Return to text
  60. Office for National Statistics, ‘Educational experiences of young people with special educational needs and disabilities in England: February to May 2022’, 7 November 2022. Return to text
  61. As above. Return to text
  62. HM Government, ‘Children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND): Special education needs support’, accessed 3 May 2024. Return to text
  63. HM Government, ‘Children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND): Extra help’, accessed 3 May 2024. Return to text
  64. Disability Rights UK, ‘Education’, accessed 3 May 2024. Return to text
  65. Department for Education, ‘Special educational needs in England’, 22 June 2023. Return to text
  66. Local Government Association, ‘Special educational needs and disabilities (SEND)’, accessed 3 May 2024. Return to text
  67. As above. Return to text
  68. As above. Return to text
  69. Disability Rights UK, ‘New research highlights barriers to SEND support’, 15 November 2022. Return to text
  70. Department for Education and Department of Health and Social Care, ‘SEND review: Right support, right place, right time’, 2 March 2023. Return to text
  71. Department for Education, ‘SEND and alternative provision improvement plan’, 2 March 2023. Return to text
  72. British Dyslexia Association, ‘Response to SEND and Alternative Provision Improvement Plan’, 7 March 2023. Return to text
  73. Independent Provider of Special Education Advice, ‘Government publishes SEND improvement plan’, March 2023. Return to text
  74. Local Government Association, ‘SEND and alternative provision improvement plan’, 2 March 2023. Return to text
  75. As above. Return to text
  76. As above. Return to text
  77. Department for Education, ‘How we’re improving support for children and young people with special education needs’, 26 March 2024. Return to text
  78. Disability Rights UK, ‘Housing’, accessed 3 May 2024. Return to text
  79. The government has said that a consultation “found substantial difficulties in mandating PEEPs in high-rise residential buildings”. It has since consulted on a different set of measures in ‘emergency evacuation information sharing plus’ consultation and was considering its response. See: House of Commons, ‘Written question: High rise flats: Personal emergency evacuation plans (UIN 18563)’, 20 March 2024. Return to text
  80. Office for National Statistics, ‘Outcomes for disabled people in the UK: 2021—housing’, 10 February 2022. Return to text
  81. Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, ‘Why PRS [private rented sector] cannot ignore need for accessible homes’, 20 February 2023. Return to text
  82. As above. Return to text
  83. As above. See also: Dominic Aitken et al, ‘A home for life or a home for now? Understanding indifference toward accessibility and adaptability features among some older homebuyers’, Journal of Aging and Environment, January 2020, vol 34, pp 1–18. Return to text
  84. House of Commons Levelling Up, Housing and Communities Committee, ‘Disabled people in the housing sector: Inquiry’, accessed 3 May 2024. Return to text
  85. House of Commons Levelling Up, Housing and Communities Committee, ‘Written evidence: Disabled people in the housing sector’, accessed 3 May 2024. Return to text
  86. Royal Institute of British Architects, ‘Written evidence submitted by Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) [DPH 013]’, September 2023. Return to text
  87. Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, ‘Raising accessibility standards for new homes: summary of consultation responses and government response’, 29 July 2022 Return to text
  88. As above. Return to text
  89. House of Commons Levelling Up, Housing and Communities Committee, ‘Oral evidence: Disabled people in the housing sector’, 18 March 2024, HC 63 of session 2023–24, Q68. Return to text
  90. HM Government, ‘Disabled facilities grants’, accessed 3 May 2024. See also: House of Commons Library, ‘Disabled facilities grants for home adaptations’, 9 April 2023. Return to text
  91. National Residential Landlords Association, ‘Written evidence submitted by National Residential Landlords Association [DPH 010]’, September 2023. Return to text
  92. As above. Return to text
  93. House of Commons Levelling Up, Housing and Communities Committee, ‘Oral evidence: Disabled people in the housing sector’, 18 March 2024, HC 63 of session 2023–24, Q60. Return to text
  94. The Renters (Reform) Bill would, among other things, end so-called ‘no fault’ section 21 evictions, create an ombudsman scheme for private tenants in England for the first time, apply a decent homes standard to the private rented sector, prohibit blanket bans against tenants who receive benefits. For further information, see House of Lords Library, ‘Renters (Reform) Bill’, 9 May 2024. Return to text
  95. HM Government, ‘How council tax works’, accessed 3 May 2024. Return to text
  96. HM Government website, ‘Financial help if you’re disabled’, accessed 9 May 2024. Return to text
  97. House of Commons, ‘Written question: Housing: Construction (15081)’, 26 February 2024. Return to text
  98. Dikaios Sakellariou and Elena Rotarou, ‘Access to healthcare for men and women with disabilities in the UK: Secondary analysis of cross-sectional data’, BMJ Open, 2017. Return to text
  99. Sense, ‘Access to healthcare for people with complex disabilities’, 2023. Return to text
  100. NHS England, ‘Accessible information standard’, accessed 3 May 2024. Return to text
  101. As above. Return to text
  102. Office for National Statistics, ‘Updated estimates of coronavirus (COVID-19) related deaths by disability status, England: 24 January 2020 to 9 March 2022’, 9 May 2022. Return to text
  103. Office for National Statistics, ‘Coronavirus and the social impacts on disabled people in Great Britain: March 2020 to December 2021’, 2 February 2022. Return to text
  104. House of Commons Women and Equalities Committee, ‘Unequal impact? Coronavirus, disability and access to services’, December 2020. Return to text
  105. As above. Return to text
  106. The King’s Fund, ‘Towards a new partnership between disabled people and health and care services: Getting our voices heard’, 27 July 2022. Return to text
  107. As above. Return to text
  108. NHS England, ‘Reasonable adjustments’, accessed 3 May 2024. Return to text
  109. NHS England, ‘Reasonable adjustment flag’, accessed 9 May 2024. Return to text
  110. As above. Return to text
  111. HM Government, ‘National disability strategy’, July 2021, CP 512, p 110. Return to text
  112. As above. For further information on the government’s policies on the Mental Health Act 1983 see: Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology, ‘Mental Health Act reform: Impacts on autistic people and people with a learning disability’, 3 May 2024. Return to text
  113. As above. Return to text