Dignity and Opportunity for All – report published!

Report coverDignity and Opportunity for All:
Securing the rights of disabled people in the austerity era

This report I’ve helped to write for Just Fair has now been published. It analyses the extent to which the UK is meeting its obligations to realise the following rights in relation to disabled people, as set out in the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD):

  • The right to independent living (UNCRPD Article 19)
  • The right to work (ICESCR Article 6 and UNCRPD Article 27)
  • The right to fair and just conditions of employment (ICESCR Article 7 and UNCRPD Article 27)
  • The right to social security (ICESCR Article 9)
  • The right to social protection (UNCRPD Article 28)
  • The right to an adequate standard of living (ICESCR Article 11 and UNCRPD Article 28)

Three versions of the report are available on the Just Fair website

  • The full version
  • An easy read version
  • A summary version

The full report rigorously examines the available evidence in the light of the obligations contained within ICESCR and UNCRPD, and also draws on the experience of disabled people. Key quotes from the report include the following:

The right to independent living

“There is prima facie evidence that [the local housing allowance and the size criteria in social housing] are retrogressive, threatening disabled people’s occupation of accessible and affordable housing to enable them to live independently, exercising their right to choose where they live on an equal basis with others.”

“…. when evaluating the Government’s final decision to proceed with the closure of the [Independent Living Fund]… any change in support that threatens fund users’ enjoyment of the right to independent living would constitute impermissible retrogression in relation to UNCRPD Article 19.”

“Given the critical role of social care services in facilitating independent living, we recommend that the Government ensures sufficient investment is directed towards ensuring that disabled people receive the support they need to exercise their right to independent living.”

“Despite the complexity and limitations of cumulative impact assessments, the evidence does appear to show that the JCHR’s concerns about the cumulative impact of a number of reforms and policy changes on independent living have been realised. If disabled people are hit by two, three, four or even more separate changes to benefits, social care and other services, they lose much of the support they need to live independently in the community in terms of UNCRPD Article 19.”

“…. the importance of fulfilling disabled people’s right to independent living is such that serious consideration should be given to incorporating UNCRPD Article 19 (and related international human rights protections) into UK domestic law. This could be done so as to provide an overarching statutory duty on all areas of Government to take account of the need to respect, protect and fulfil disabled people’s right to independent living, and a duty to avoid retrogression, in all relevant policymaking.”

The rights to work, to social security and to an adequate standard of living

“… there continue to be significant barriers to disabled people’s access to the labour market, compromising their enjoyment of the right to work and the right to fair and just conditions of employment.”

“The key concern in relation to employment and support allowance, and the operation of the work capability assessment, is that the structure of the benefit and the frequency of inaccurate assessments leaves many people with long term health conditions in a no-man’s land – neither eligible for out of work benefits nor able to undertake paid work. This failure to provide income replacement benefits to disabled people and people with long term health conditions when they are unable to work constitutes a failure to respect, protect and fulfil disabled people’s right to social security … and, for many disabled people, their right to an adequate standard of living….”

“[Disabled people] are disproportionately affected by the reduced availability of advice services, which has an impact on their enjoyment of their… right to social security and, for many, an adequate standard of living.”

“There are a number of factors that increase the risk of disabled people becoming destitute, which reflect a failure to comply with the minimum core obligations under ICESCR and UNCRPD and to guarantee their rights to social security, social protection and an adequate standard of living…. appropriate recommendations include refocusing the ethos and performance management of DWP and JobCentre Plus so that their primary responsibility is to ensure claimants are able to support themselves and their families – by being supported to enjoy their rights to work, to social security and to an adequate standard of living…”

Use the report!

This has been a complex and demanding piece of work, but a vitally important one. It’s important that the report has an influence where it needs to, including for the forthcoming examinations under UNCRPD in 2015 and under ICESCR in 2016.

Do take the opportunity to bring the report to the attention of your MP, and encourage him or her to read it for themselves rather than merely look at its casual dismissal by the Government. I’m confident that the report can withstand scrutiny.

16 thoughts on “Dignity and Opportunity for All – report published!

  1. Another astounding fastidious piece of research and ultimate work your a force to be reckoned with, undoubtably, all disabled and disadvantaged in this country should personally thank both yourself Jane Young and the team.
    I have skim read it, and shall read it through at some point hopefully this will prove how serious some of us are about making changes in this horrendous situation we find ourselves in through NO fault of our own, thus the Gov, DWP, Atos and all others beware were coming after you!!!
    Bravo, (round of applause, as you deserve it 🙂 )
    All the best
    Dougie 🙂
    Bedroom Tax Chat Page on Facebook

    • Aw, that’s sweet of you – thank you! For a topic this vital, only the greatest rigour and highest standards are appropriate!

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  4. Wel done Jane, you and your co-authors have written a fantastic report showing the govn. how the disabled deserve to be treated.

    Lets hope that if they sneak in again under another coalition next year, God forbid;they at least formulate the reports recommendations.


  5. Thank you Jane this is excellent, many great people doing great things in our fight for equality and fair justice.
    I have heard the phrase “prisoner in your own home” many times but did not think that was reality until I had to retire early due to SAH/Stroke and reality it is on so many levels.

  6. What a fantastic report – well done Jane and Company 🙂 Also, thanks from the bottom of my heart for this.

  7. So much to read in this rigorous, meticulous work, produced on behalf of so many disabled people. I have only reached page 67 so far. An excellent collation of all the retrogressive changes brought about by welfare reform and the disproportionate effect on disabled people, So far I have been hit 3 ways by my needs being denied so that the ministers can save a relatively small amount of money, and am at risk of a 4th with the roll out of PIP reassessments for those with indefinite DLA awards. I have no good reason to believe at the moment that the assessment will be a fair one. Thank you for this great work. I will be forwarding it to my MP when I have finished reading it.

    • I think in all fairness WE SHOULD ALL forward this document on to our local and national Mps Msps and such like, giving it the publicity it truly deserves, as a campaigner against Bedroom Tax and Disabled Rights etc I know only to well how much time, effort and research goes into such projects, as a very humble person Jane would never ask for such help but I think that EVERY disabled person in the UK along with their campaigners and carers etc should be backing this document it’s surely the absolute least we can do ………….. I know I am doing so right now, are you?

  8. Dear Jane
    I’m really interested to read your report on disability and human rights – I’ve just blogged about the select committee report on ESA and WCA: and how this fits with the UN convention? However, the online version is not accessible for me – do you have an original word version that will work with my screen reader please. I won’t pass it on to others or amend it.
    Penny Melville-Brown

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