New Prime Minister must take ‘determined action’
Date posted: 6th September 2022
Thomas Pocklington Trust’s CEO, Charles Colquhoun, has today written to the new Prime Minister, Liz Truss, asking her to ‘take determined action’ to improve the lives of the two million blind and partially sighted people in the UK.
The letter calls for a public commitment to renewed action across six areas, which are:
- Good healthcare services are vital for everyone, but many blind and partially sighted people face long waits to access eye health services, risking a deterioration or onset of preventable sight loss. Half of all sight loss is preventable. It is time for a National Eye Care Strategy to bring together disjointed services, improve value for money and outcomes for patients and service users.
- Employment is a big priority for blind and partially sighted people – both getting a job and staying in employment as their sight deteriorates. Only one in four people who are registered blind or partially sighted are in work and this position hasn’t shifted in a generation. This is an appalling waste of talent that adds to the burden on the benefits system.
- Navigating the streets and built environment and avoiding obstacles like cars parked on pavements, shared pedestrian and active travel spaces and e-scooters is another important issue for visually impaired people. Too many town and city centres are becoming no-go areas due to poor street design. The government needs to give a lead to local communities in delivering safe and accessible built environments.
- Accessible public transport is important in enabling blind and partially sighted people to get around independently. This means train and bus services that are easy to navigate, accessible information on travel times, routes and prices and training for staff and passenger assistance schemes that are reliable and effective. The government needs to make good on the ambitions set out in the National Disability Strategy.
- Education and support for children and young people with visual impairments is key to giving citizens with sight loss the best start in life. Everyone should have the opportunity to thrive in education and that includes getting good support and helping young adults to live independently.
- Good access to social, sport and leisure opportunities is an important part of what makes life worth living. This includes accessible sport and leisure, audio description services on television, cinema and theatre. Too many blind and partially sighted people are shut out of the cultural and sporting life of Britain by inaccessibility or a lack of awareness. That can and must change.
Following her victory in the Conservative Party leadership election on Monday, Liz Truss became the new Prime Minister of the United Kingdom after being officially asked by Her Majesty the Queen to form a new government. She becomes the 57th Prime Minister, the 15th during the reign of Queen Elizabeth and the 3rd female Prime Minister.
Read the letter here