The Government's Disability Unit and Equality Hub earlier this year consulted on the proposed 2023 to 2024 Disability Action Plan (the Plan). The consultation document sets out steps already taken and the Government's commitments, including its support for the Carer's Leave Act and the Employment Relations (Flexible Working) Act. The Plan does not contain new announcements of wider reforms but highlights action the Government says it is taking to improve the lives of disabled people. The consultation ended on 6 October 2023.
The EHRC has responded to the consultation. In doing so, it has called for "urgent reform" in order to address problems with the welfare system and inadequate public services, which leave disabled people at a higher risk of poverty, abuse and poor health.
In its response, the EHRC reiterated its call for a mandatory duty on some employers to report on disability pay and employment gap. It encouraged gathering data to better understand barriers that disabled people face and highlighted the need to prioritise engaging with disabled people and representative organisations.
While the EHRC welcomed more detail on the Government's proposals around assistive technology, it warned that the focus should remain on reasonable adjustments and services that are accessible to all. It also referred to the disproportionate impact of the COVID pandemic on disabled people, and the need to better engage with disabled people to change government emergency planning and response.
As the consultation has only recently closed, the Government is yet to respond to comments from the EHRC and others. Whilst there is no current indication that the Government's policy on its Disability Action Plan is likely to change, the EHRC response reiterates its key priorities and areas of focus in this area.