Documents to download

There are a wide range of challenges that disabled people can face. A number of recent select committee reports and briefings from the parliamentary Libraries examine some of the challenges faced by disabled people across a wide range of policy areas such as accessibility, housing, benefits, employment, education and transport. A reading list is provided at the end of this Briefing. This Briefing covers the legal framework governing disabled people’s rights in the UK both in domestic law, in the Equality Act 2010, and in international law, in the UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities.

The Equality Act 2010 is the primary piece of legislation governing disabled people’s rights in the UK. This Act makes provisions for people with nine protected characteristics, including disability. In 2016, the House of Lords Equality Act 2010 and Disability Committee found that “combining disability with the other protected characteristics in one Act did not in practice benefit disabled people” and that disabled people’s rights were better protected under the previous legislation. The Government disputed this conclusion.

The UK has ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities. Since 2016, the UN Committee on the Rights of People with Disabilities has published two reports examining the UK’s provisions for disabled people. In both reports the Committee expressed serious concerns that the level of protection and support provided to disabled people was not adequate. The Government disagreed with the Committee’s conclusions, but stated that there was more that could be done to help disabled people.

Concerns have been expressed that the UK’s withdrawal from the EU could lead to negative outcomes for disabled people. Possible routes by which this could occur are: weakening of legislative protections; lack of recourse to the Courts of Justice of the EU; and no longer participating in EU programmes which provide funding for projects for disabled people. The Government has stated that it does not intend to weaken disabled people’s rights and will preserve funding for existing projects.


Documents to download

Related posts

  • UK aid for marginalised groups and minority communities in Pakistan

    The UK is one of the largest donors of overseas aid to Pakistan. However, despite a planned increase in the forthcoming financial year, the aid budget that the UK has allocated to Pakistan has declined notably in recent years. This has led to calls for the aid that the UK does provide to be focused more effectively on marginalised groups and minority communities in Pakistan.

    UK aid for marginalised groups and minority communities in Pakistan
  • UN standards on the use of surveillance technology at protests

    The UN recently published a toolkit for law enforcement officials to promote and protect human rights in the context of peaceful protests. It includes key principles for the use of digital technologies in relation to protests. This comes at a time when there are debates around the use of live facial recognition technology in public spaces by police in England and Wales. The government supports developing it as a crime-fighting tool, but others are concerned about its impact on privacy and other rights.

    UN standards on the use of surveillance technology at protests
  • Questions to the foreign secretary: 16 April 2024

    Members of the House of Lords will ask Foreign Secretary Lord Cameron of Chipping Norton a series of oral questions on 16 April 2024. Topics include the current state of freedom of religion or belief in India; what is being done to maintain support for Ukraine; when the UK will next hold a bilateral meeting with France on security issues; and whether the UK will mark the 75th anniversary of the Council of Europe.

    Questions to the foreign secretary: 16 April 2024