On 28 July 2021, the UK Government set out its new National Disability Strategy. The strategy was first announced in 2019, when Prime Minister, Boris Johnson described it as the “most ambitious and transformative disability plan in a generation”.

There are 14 million disabled people in the UK. That is more than one in five of us. That number is set to grow as people live longer and treatments and healthcare technologies improve. Disability is something which matters to all of us.

The National Disability Strategy is the Governments response to the growing inequalities faced by disabled people. The document contains many actions from each Government department on everything from research, transport, employment, technology to leisure and arts. 

Some of the actions mentioned include:

  • Accelerating upgrades of rail station platforms to have tactile paving
  • £30 million investment in Changing Places facilities across the UK
  • A commitment to making playgrounds more accessible for disabled children

Independent Lives welcomes the strategy and the actions it highlights but questions whether the Government is going far enough. While the strategy does include some new money, a far more considerable investment is required to tackle the growing inequalities faced by disabled people.

Independent Lives Chief Executive, Rebecca Smicle said:

“Despite being promised an ambitious and transformative disability plan, the strategy promises little beyond a list of actions over the next twelve-months.

“There is much within the strategy to welcome. Any action or investment by the Government will go some way to alleviating the difficulties faced by disabled people. However, I am afraid that this strategy will not go far enough to address the inequities within our society.”

Disability Rights UK Chief Executive, Kamran Mallik said:

“The strategy has insufficient concrete measures to address the current inequalities that disabled people experience in living standards and life chances.”

Independent Lives will be looking at the strategy in more detail over the coming weeks and will be working with its members and partner organisations on a joint response, highlighting the local concerns of disabled people and the solutions required.


If you would like to support Independent Lives by taking part in this review then why not join Friends of Independent Lives, our free membership programme. We welcome people who want to help us to shape a better future for the people we support.