United Kingdom

This page features the news on disability from United Kingdom in the Debrief Library. See also news from other countries.

Contents

Accessibility and Design

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Housing

Outrage as ministers reject post-Grenfell safety plans for disabled people “Personal fire evacuation plans were in public inquiry’s proposals, which ministers had said they would ‘accept in full’” (May, the Guardian) See further detail on inside housing.

COVID-19

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Impact

Covid-19 and the Crisis in Social Care: Exploring the Experiences of Disabled People in the Pandemic: “the social care crisis has challenged the goal of independent living.”. (Apr, CUP)

Health and healthcare for people with disabilities in the UK during the COVID-19 pandemic: “As the UK opens up, it is important that health care services and social policy address the poor mental health and social isolation of people with disability so that the inequalities occurring early in the pandemic do not become further entrenched.” (Jan, Disability and Health Journal)

COVID-19 pandemic impact on psychotropic prescribing for adults with intellectual disability: an observational study in English specialist community services: "The pandemic caused an increase in psychotropic prescribing associated with lockdown severity and urban settings." (Jan, BJPsych)

Response

‘They gave her a bed to die in’: family of woman with Down’s Syndrome denied intensive care seek answers from Covid-19 inquiry. (Jul, the Guardian)

Disabled people are being left out of COVID recovery. “Here are five ways to change that” (Apr, the Conversation)

Vaccination

Booster jabs are vital – why is it so difficult for clinically vulnerable people to access them? (Dec, the Guardian)

Living with COVID

Doctors with long Covid say they have been denied disability benefits. (Jun, the Guardian)

Civil Society and Community

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First orthodox siddur for people with disabilities launched in UK (Jun, Jerusalem Post)

Disabled youth participation within activism and social movement bases: “[Young disabled people] feel pressure to agree with those who have identified the cause, advised by established figures on ways in which they should demonstrate resistance, and are requested to provide recommendations that will improve the situation for young people: a limited involvement.” (Jun, Current Sociology)

Radio play Pride and Protest offers a window into the current struggle for disability rights. (May, Disability Arts Online)

Tickboxes and Tokenism? Service User Involvement Report 2022 (Feb, Shaping our Lives)

Climate Crisis

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Disability and the heatwave: Cooling solutions and disability as weather alert goes red (Jul, BBC)

City’s co-produced climate action plan ‘is a world first’
featuring Bristol's climate plan, which we also covered on the debrief (Jul, Disability News Service)

Glasgow disabled facing hostility for car use “Disabled people are facing "climate-change themed" hostility and aggression for using cars, according to a charity.” (May, The Herald)

A new Community Climate Action Plan in Bristol (Mar, Bristol DEF)

Up to the Challenge report examining the National Disability Strategy and how it addresses climate change. "Disabled people across the country are excluded from the important work to tackle climate change." (Feb, Oxford)

For disabled environmentalists discrimination and exclusion are a daily reality (Jan, Greenpeace)

Communication and Language

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Sign Languages

A Sociolinguistic History of British Sign Language in Northern Ireland. "The study shows how the Protestant schools played an important role in the transmission of BSL in the island of Ireland." (Mar, Sign Language Studies)

Braille

The Politics of Braille

"These days the argument for and against Braille continues in several arenas. Blind people are divided in regards to its usefulness, schools debate whether it is worth recruiting qualified teachers, and governments fail to set aside funding to either train those teachers or fund their employment in local authorities. ‘Has technology replaced Braille?’ is a question I hear thrown around by the media more often than I should, usually accompanied by an article about a technology that will revolutionise how blind people read, rendering Braille unnecessary. It has not failed to escape me that whilst I’ve seen countless such articles, Braille is still firmly in place as the writing system used by blind people globally." (Jan, Catch These Words)

Culture, Entertainment and Media

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Overview

‘Don’t tone it down’ – inside the invasion of British museums by disabled artists. (Jun, the Guardian)

Being Hybrid A guide to hybrid events for the literature sector. (Jun, Spread the Word)

TV and Film

Britain's Got Talent 2022 Eva Abley's performances, a 14 year-old comedian. (May, Adnan Entertainment)

Starring Rosie Jones Disability Benefits is a comedy take on getting disability benefits from the government, and if that doesn't work, getting the disability benefit in a life of crime. (May, Channel 4)

Broadcasters unite to create ‘passports’ “that will remove barriers and support better inclusion of disabled people and other colleagues at work.” (Mar, Channel 4)

Let’s storm Parliament! Then Barbara Met Alan is a film from BBC on the ”punks who risked their lives to fix ableist Britain”. See also on “these stories change how people think”. (Mar, the Guardian) One line I enjoyed from the film: “It was 1990, nothing in law, just a pat on the head and a fuck off if you moan too much”. See also a comment on what the film misses out.

‘It’s time for us to live our lives to the full’. Line of Duty’s Tommy Jessop on changing the world for people with Down’s syndrome. (Feb, the Guardian)

I'm thrilled that Rose Ayling-Ellis won Strictly Come Dancing: see her interview in the Guardian talking about her life, career and the show. (Dec, the Guardian)

Media

BBC Unveils Latest Statistics on Disability, Ethnicity Representation. “53% of teams monitored achieving their targets for disability representation, an increase of 35 percentage points over the last year and a half.” (Apr, Variety)

Channel 4 creative brief Disability Disruption commission "ripping up the playbook and showing disabled people as they have never been seen before on British TV." (Feb, Channel 4) See also coverage on Broadcast.

Data and Research

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Outcomes for disabled people in the UK: 2021 detailed statistics from a range of datasets. (Feb, ONS)

Digital Accessibility and Technology

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Social Media

As a disabled person, social media has been a lifeline "The internet bypasses what keeps us apart: inaccessible transport, a lack of appropriate care, pain and fatigue. [...] The real power of the disability community, [comes] in the slow accumulation of knowledge that accrues from bearing witness to each other’s lives." (Jan, Financial Times)

Economics and Social Protection

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Overview

From disability to destitution devastating analysis on the economic situation of persons with disabilities. (Jul, JRF)

‘I see price rises of 25-50%’: how inflation is affecting people with a disability or illness (Jul, the Guardian)

A survey of almost 700 people What disabled consumers choose to buy and why “90 per cent were affected at the decision-making stage of purchases by either; limitations of design, limitations in available information, or how information was presented.” (Jun, BDF) See also on Forbes.

In a survey of 1,200 disabled people, more than half feel “anxious, depressed or hopeless” about financial worries and problems (Apr, Yahoo! News)

Disabled people facing ‘impossible choices to survive’ in cost of living crisis, “amid a perfect storm of soaring energy prices, increasing fuel and food costs and cuts to government support”. (Mar, the Guardian)

Rising living costs will push more disabled people into destitution "Benefits are falling far behind the extra costs associated with disability," (Feb, New Statesman)

New data shows food insecurity major challenge to levelling up agenda "People who are limited a lot by disability are approximately 5 times more likely to be food insecure (in the past six months) than people who aren’t living with a disability." (Feb, Food Foundation)

Social Protection

Great video on how support workers can enable a social life (Apr, Open Future Learning)

Government spent £440m fighting disability claimants as whistleblowers claim system broken. (Apr, ITV)

Disabled People trapped waiting years for vital home adaptations (Apr, The Bureau of Investigative Journalism)

Education and Childhood

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Overview

Children with Disabilities forced to travel hundreds of miles for school. (Apr, The Bureau)

Changing Children’s Attitudes to Disability through Music: "A core driver for change appeared to be sharing enjoyable musical activities with competent musicians who had disabilities." (Feb, Disabilities)

Higher Education

Disabled students are being let down by universities (Jun, Metro)

Employment, Business and Work

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‘I was dismissed as simple’: People reveal the reality of disability discrimination at work (May, Metro.co.uk)

The blind farmer: ‘It’s all I ever wanted to do. Now I can help others do it’ (May, the Guardian)

Disability pay gaps in the UK: 2021 “The disability pay gap, the gap between median pay for disabled employees and non-disabled employees, was 13.8% in 2021”. There is a slightly wider pay-gap for men with disabilities, and considerably wider for those with more activity limitations, or with autism listed as their main impairment. (Apr, ONS)

Business Without Barriers: interviews with successful disabled entrepreneurs and personal accounts from employers who are helping to break down barriers to employment. (FSB)

Disability Smart Awards (Dec, Business Disability Forum)

Health

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A BBC show Ellie Simmonds: A World Without Dwarfism?

“A pioneering drug is coming on the market that promises to make children with achondroplasia - Ellie’s form of dwarfism - grow closer to average height. A genetic condition, achondroplasia is the most common type of dwarfism in the UK, and the new treatment raises the question: if cutting-edge medicine can stop disability in its tracks, should we use it?” (Apr, BBC)

History and Memorial

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Dr Peter Scott-Morgan dies: Tributes to world's first 'cyborg' ‘And when I say “Cyborg”, I don’t just mean any old cyborg, you understand, but by far the most advanced human cybernetic organism ever created in 13.8 billion years.’ (Jun, Metro.co.uk)

‘The lady without legs or arms’: how an artist shattered Victorian ideas about disability. (May, the Guardian)

The Jewish Deaf Association launch new website: Jewish Deaf History (London) discussion of the history and website. (May, Limping Chicken)

The 1921 census is a snapshot of a post-war Britain where disability suddenly became visible: "Poignant, defiant notes by men living with war wounds show the roots of the ongoing fight for disability rights taking hold". (Jan, Inews)

Humanitarian, Migrants and Refugees

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Jamaicans with disabilities facing ‘unjust’ deportation from UK. “Most of the Jamaicans facing deportation next week on a government flight live with a disability or health problem and came to Britain as children” (May, Independent)

Non-verbal black teenager who has never left UK detained at immigration centre. “Boy who went missing from hospital arrested and held at Gatwick facility after being wrongly recorded as Nigerian” (Apr, the Guardian)

A Mural on Disability and Migration bringing together the disabled movement and asylum sector. (Youtube, Dec, Disability Murals)

Institutions and Deinstitutionalization

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A new book, open access, Deprivation of Liberty in the Shadows of the Institution on how restrictive practices from institutions continued as services were provided in the community. (Mar, Bristol University Press)

My Freedom A retrospective on the 10th anniversary of abuse reported at residential facility Winterbourne View. "My freedom means I go to bed when I want. " (Bemix)

The shameful legacy of the Lennox Castle hospital Scotland's largest institutiono for people with learning disabilities, which closed 20 years ago. (Jan, BBC)

International Cooperation

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On the new International Development Strategy, People with Disabilities don’t have the luxury of time “there is no observable strategy to focus concerted efforts on eradicating poverty and improving the lives of the most marginalised.” (May, CBM UK)

UK Government's Strategy for International Development must include older people “we are disappointed that the Strategy did not refer explicitly to the impact of global ageing, did not consider needs throughout the life course, or address the specific needs and rights of older people.” (May, Age International)

Meeting the Ambition of the new FCDO Disability Inclusion & Rights Strategy (Apr, CBM UK)

Launch of a new development policy, FCDO disability inclusion and rights strategy 2022 to 2030. See a blog post welcoming the new strategy from CBM UK. (Feb, Gov UK)

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Pushing at the Boundaries of Legal Personhood. “Could we then imagine a framework of legal personhood that recognises persons with removeable parts?” (Jun, Frontiers of Sociolegal Studies)

Lived Experience and Opinion

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Disabled people don’t need your outrage – we need you to fight with us for change (Jul, the Guardian)

What Does it Mean to Forge a Body? Autonomy through Disability Cures and Gender Transition (Apr, Catch these Words)

I'm treated differently depending on what kind of wheelchair I use - on the difference between using a manual and powered wheelchair. (Feb, Metro)

“No you’re not” collection of profiles of autistic women (Feb, Wellcome Collection)

Unbound an animation reacting to the phrase "wheelchair bound": "my wheels travel the world, and they dance, whirl in light and colour" (subtitles but no visual description, Dec, BBC)

Mental Health

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The Guardian view on mental health privatisation: unsafe spaces. “Businesses that fail patients while making profit margins of 15%-20% are no substitute for investment in the NHS” (Apr, the Guardian)

Autistic people are six times more likely to attempt suicide – poor mental health support may be to blame (Apr, The Conversation)

A critique of digital mental health via assessing the psychodigitalisation of the COVID-19 crisis (Feb, Psychotherapy and Politics International)

Mobility, Travel, Transport and Tourism

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Airports must stop failing disabled passengers, says UK regulator. (Jun, the Guardian)

Disabled campaigners are to thank for accessibility on the Elizabeth Line “A decade ago, Transport for All campaigned hard for the Line to be accessible, and were successful in securing £33 million additional investment to make this happen” (May, Transport for All) The Elizabeth Line will make a big difference for me in getting across London. Can't wait to try it out.

Death of blind man hit by train ruled accident. ‘Matt Stringer, chief executive of the Royal National Institute of Blind People, said the death "was not an isolated incident".’ (May, BBC) See also other experiences and reflections on access issues at train stations.

Policy and Rights

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UK Ministry of Justice Treats People with Disabilities as an Afterthought: "Human Rights Act Consultation Exercise Fails Fully to Include People with Disabilities". (Mar, Human Rights Watch)

Bristol appoints disability equality commissioners to tackle inequality Interesting to see this at city-level. (Feb, Bristol)

High Court declares National Disability Strategy unlawful due to inadequate consultation (Jan, Bindmans)

Politics and Elections

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Breaking down Barriers: a report on Improving Disabled Representation & Participation (Mar, Disability Policy Centre)

‘Deaf’ Liz Truss – a curious choice of insult reflecting on the Russian Foreign Minister's comments. (Limping Chicken)

Relationships, Sex and Reproductive Rights

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Do accessible sex toys exist? Podcast (no transcript, Feb, BBC)

Sport and Paralympics

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Activity levels among disabled people have failed to return to pre-Covid levels (Jun, the Guardian)

‘Stare at me because I deserve to be stared at’: Lauren Steadman and the evolution of representation at the Paralympics (Mar, the 19th)

War in Ukraine

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Appeals and Statements

Older people’s organisations across the UK call on the Prime Minister to take further action to support older people affected by war in Ukraine (10 Mar, Older People's Commissioner for Wales)