The 2019 General Election Conservative Party Manifesto has made a number of specific commitments to improve the lives of disabled people in our country. The manifesto can be accessed here with accessible versions available here.
The disability specific manifesto commitments are as follows:
Assessments - As part of our efforts to empower and support disabled people, we will reduce the number of reassessments a disabled person must go through when a significant change in condition is unlikely – because you should not have to provide repeated proof of your disability in order to receive support.
National Strategy for Disabled People - We will publish a National Strategy for Disabled People before the end of 2020. This will look at ways to improve the benefits system, opportunities and access for disabled people in terms of housing, education, transport and jobs. It will include our existing commitments to increase SEND funding and support pupils, students and adults to get careers advice, internships, and transition into work. We will reduce the disability employment gap. Further information on the 'National Disability Strategy' can be be found here.
Disability Hate Crime - We will protect people from physical attack or harassment whether for their sex, sexual orientation, ethnicity, religion or disability, and expand funding for and protect places of worship.
Homes for the Future - We will encourage innovative design and technology to make housing more affordable, accessible, and suitable for disabled people and an ageing population.
Employment - Whoever you are, we want to make it easier for you to get a good and rewarding job – and to be able to combine a rewarding career with raising a family or caring for elderly or disabled relatives, rather than being forced to prioritise between them. We want to make sure that you get to keep more of the money you earn, and that we keep your bills low. And we want to make sure that those who can’t work, or have entered retirement, get the level of support they need.
We as Conservatives believe that everyone who can work, should work – and that it should always pay them to do so. But we also believe that those who truly can’t work must be given the help they need. That is why we will continue the roll-out of Universal Credit, which combines multiple benefits into one while building a clearer pathway from welfare into work. We have already acted to increase work allowances, a move worth £630 to working families with children, and those with disabilities, and we will do more to make sure that Universal Credit works for the most vulnerable. We will also end the benefit freeze, while making sure it pays to work more hours.
Hospital Car Parking Charges - We will end unfair hospital car parking charges by making parking free for those in greatest need, including disabled people, frequent outpatient attenders, parents of sick children staying overnight and staff working night shifts. This will eliminate costs for those in need, while making sure there are enough spaces for everyone. Further information here.
This commitment builds upon a previous announcement to extend the use of the 'Blue Badge' scheme for people with hidden disabilities. Thousands of disabled people have already been issued with them following the change in the eligibility criteria. Further information available here.
Mental Health - We will treat mental health with the same urgency as physical health. We will legislate so that patients suffering from mental health conditions, including anxiety or depression, have greater control over their treatment and receive the dignity and respect they deserve.
50,000 more nurses - With students receiving a £5,000-£8,000 annual maintenance grant every year during their course to help with their cost of living – and they won’t have to pay it back. Everyone will receive at least £5,000 with further funding in regions or disciplines that are struggling to recruit – such as mental health – and help with their childcare costs.
Special Educational Needs - We will create more great schools. We will continue to do everything we can to ensure every school is a great school. We will continue to support innovation, like our successful maths schools, set up for the most gifted young physicists and mathematicians. We will expand ‘alternative provision’ schools for those who have been excluded. We will also deliver more school places for children with complex Special Educational Needs. We will intervene in schools where there is entrenched under-performance. We will continue to ensure that parents can choose the schools that best suit their children and best prepare them for the future. And we will continue to build more free schools.
Social Prescribing - We will extend social prescribing and expand the new National Academy of Social Prescribing.
Improving Social Care - It is a basic, compassionate Conservative belief that we should care for those in need – helping those who cannot help themselves. Thanks to decades of economic growth and scientific innovation, people are living longer, healthier lives. But this, alongside the rise of dementia and other chronic conditions, means that the pressures on the elderly care system are ever-increasing. There has also been significant growth in the number of working-age people with disabilities who need care at a younger age.
We need to have a system to give every person the dignity and security that they deserve. This is a significant and complex challenge and in order to lay the foundations, we must plan for the infrastructure, workforce growth and healthcare integration that is required for a care system fit for the 21st century.
Because this is a long-term problem that will affect so many people, any solution has to be able to survive long-term. We must build the same level of consensus on social care as we have already built on the NHS. So we will build a cross-party consensus to bring forward an answer that solves the problem, commands the widest possible support, and stands the test of time. That consensus will consider a range of options but one condition we do make is that nobody needing care should be forced to sell their home to pay for it.
- We need a longterm solution for social care – that’s why we are committing to an ambitious three point plan:
- £1 billion extra of funding every year for more social care staff and better infrastructure, technology and facilities.
- We will commit to urgently seek a cross-party consensus in order to bring forward the necessary proposal and legislation for longterm reform.
- The prerequisite of any solution will be a guarantee that no one needing care has to sell their home to pay for it.