We welcome the renewed focus from the Government on the need to enhance the life chances of disabled people, and stand ready to work with them to ensure that those living invisible disabilities like deafness and hearing loss are not forgotten. The 11 million people in the UK we represent lose out across society – be it in employment, education, healthcare, access to services and many aspects of everyday life many of us take from granted. The Government’s solutions must be as broad as the range of barriers faced by people living with disabilities.
We await with interest further details about how relocating responsibility for disability from the DWP to the Cabinet Office will work in practice. Too often disability has been shoe-horned into a single ministry, rather than being embedded into day-to-day policy decisions in every Government department.
The Government should now expedite its promised consultation on employer support for disabled people as part of this renewed focus. Our research has found that employer attitudes are the biggest barriers faced by those living with deafness and hearing loss.
Finally, while it’s welcome news that Theresa May has made these announcements, their timing at the near-end of her premiership leaves the implementation beholden to her successor. We strongly hope both contenders use the leadership contest to set out their agenda and vision to create a society that offers equal life chances to disabled people, including those living with deafness and hearing loss.