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Date posted: 15th December 2023
The largest charities working with people with sight loss have come together to share their grave concern at the decision not to appoint a dedicated Minister for Disabled People and to add the role to an existing less senior role.
After the reshuffle of the former minister, Tom Pursglove, more than a week ago, it was finally announced on Thursday that Mims Davies will be the Minister for Disabled People but with the role downgraded in its seniority. Mims Davies is a ‘parliamentary undersecretary of state’ rather than a minister of state.
Guide Dogs, RNIB and Thomas Pocklington Trust have underlined the importance of having a Minister with a clear focus on issues affecting disabled people across government departments, especially during a cost of living crisis that is disproportionately affecting disabled people.
We need a dedicated champion at a senior level within Government to ensure the voices of people with disabilities are being heard as time and again the needs of people with disabilities are ignored.
The previous Minister for Disabled People launched a consultation on the Disability Action Plan that has measures on important issues including tackling refusals of guide and other assistance dogs, provision of services for disabled children and access to elected office.
It’s essential that Mims Davies is now given the seniority to take these measures forward and to work across government to break down the barriers that make life harder for disabled people. These should be her sole responsibility rather than adding these responsibilities to her existing role in the Department for Work and Pensions.