DRC chief attacks lazy attitude over disability

The chairman of the Disability Rights Commission (DRC) has accused the government of having a “lazy” attitude to tackling disability discrimination at work.

At the launch of an advertising campaign to highlight the impact of disability discrimination in the UK, Bert Massie attacked the government for failing to break the culture of low expectations surrounding disability.

“There is a lazy fatalism that too often shapes the perceptions that politicians have of disabled people,” Massie said. “The inequality experienced by disabled people affects us all. For some reason, and despite all the facts, public policy makers are not thinking about disability. It is considered something ‘over there’ for the specialists to deal with. Something to do with wheelchairs and ramps.”

The DRC’s ‘Are we taking the Dis?’ campaign depicts unfair treatment towards disabled people and aims to promote a better culture for people with a disability.
The £1.2m national poster, press, radio and online campaign will run for one month. In one ad, a person in a wheelchair is shown sitting at a desk with the caption: ‘I’ll never get a seat on the board. I’ve got the wrong chair.’

Only 17% of people with learning disabilities are in paid work, and disabled people in work earn 10% less on average than their non-disabled colleagues, according to the DRC.

Three challenges for government

Bert Massie, chairman of the Disability Rights Commission, set three challenges for the government:

  • To increase the parliamentary representation of disabled people by ensuring a disabled candidate is on the shortlist for all vacant seats.
  • A 20% increase in the representation of disabled people on public bodies.
  • Private and voluntary sector bodies delivering public services to outline how they will ensure disabled people play an active leadership role within their organisations.

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