Latest Disability Action Plan falls short for families of disabled children

2 mins read

Thursday 8 February 2024

Tags: accessible playgrounds, earnings limit threshold, disability action plan, consultation, carer's allowance, cost of living

Contact believes the government is failing to address the cost of living crisis families with disabled children are facing in its latest Disability Action Plan.

32 actions to transform daily life

In the plan, the government sets out 32 immediate actions to “transform” daily life for disabled people. These include a commitment to make playgrounds more accessible and improved information for families with disabled members.

Some actions listed are:

  • A training module to support education professionals to identify young and sibling carers.
  • An online information hub for local authorities on creating accessible playgrounds and opportunities for disabled children to get involved in physical activity.
  • New guidance for local authorities on accessible playground, although no mention on whether this guidance will be mandatory.
  • A guide for local authorities to support “more constructive relationships” with disabled parents.
  • A new accessible online information hub for families with disabled people.

No measures to tackle spiraling living costs

But the actions are silent on concrete practical measures to tackle spiraling costs and for reducing poverty among families with disabled children. Such measures might include increasing Carer’s Allowance and the Carer’s Allowance earnings threshold.

The plan acknowledges that disabled people raised cost of living concerns in the action plan consultation. In response, there is an action for the Disability Unit to “continue to engage across government” and share insights from the consultation to highlight concerns on the impact of the cost-of-living crisis on disabled people.

Amanda Elliot, Contact’s health lead, said overall the Disability Action Plan was disappointing and too narrow in scope:

“While the plan offers families a glimmer of hope on accessible playgrounds, it stops short on committing to mandatory guidance for local authorities to make sure this happen. The plan also does nothing to address the dire lack of accessible holiday schemes for disabled children.

“We know through our helpline and parent carer surveys that the most pressing and “immediate” issue for families of with disabled children are financial. There is nothing in the action plan that offers our families any hope this will improve.”

Stephen Kingdom, campaign manager of the Disabled Children’s Partnership, welcomed the action on accessible playground but said the plan did not provide “a complete strategy to address the systemic failures for disabled children and young people.”