Recently the UK government unveiled another one of their shiny new projects designed to distract from the current mess that is, well, our government. With people resigning left, right and centre, you’d be forgiven for having no idea what I’m talking about. But, their latest endeavor is the new ‘levelling up’ plan announced by Michael Gove, and it’s clear to see that those at the top truly believed they were doing something special here.
However, a quick skim through the plans demonstrates just how unaware they are about what this country really needs. As a disabled person I feel constantly forgotten, and these plans haven’t alleviated any of those concerns.
The plans aim to transform the UK; aiming to spread prosperity more equally across the whole country by ‘levelling up’ public transport, improving 5G coverage and improving the numbers of people completing high-quality skills training. This is all sounds lovely on the surface, however, accessibility in the UK desperately needs ‘levelling up’, and yet it doesn’t get a mention.
Disabled people still face a wealth of inequalities and have the odds stacked against them at every turn, but none of these problems have been addressed by these new plans.
The government plans include wanting people to feel more pride in the place they live, but how can I feel pride when I cannot access so much of my local area? Not once in the press release are the words ‘disabled’ or ‘disability’ used. It’s baffling to me, because it is so clear to see that our country’s accessibility and treatment of disabled people is what really needs ‘levelling up’.
The government says they want to spread opportunity and prosperity to all parts of the country, but how can you achieve that without addressing the needs of one of the most disadvantaged groups of people?
Disabled people are by far not the only group who face inequality here in the UK, but we are present within every minority. Being disabled also exacerbates already present problems such as poverty, access to healthcare and housing. Blanket approaches just don’t work, disability must be thought of and considered within every area of society.
In the announcement the government states that this plan will “shift government focus and resources to Britain’s forgotten communities”. And yet, disabled people still find themselves being missed off the list.
It truly goes to show how little value is placed on our lives, that even amongst plans for the country’s most forgotten people, we are not thought of.
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