UK Disabled People’s Manifesto: Reclaiming Our Futures


The aim of this manifesto – developed by disabled people and their organisations across the UK – is to map the key principles, demands and
commitments that disabled people and our allies can use in campaigning and lobbying. It calls on the Westminster and devolved Governments to recognise and act on their responsibilities in fully implementing the United Nations Convention on Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) effectively across the UK.

The manifesto uses a Social Model of Disability definition, that is: that economic, cultural and political forces work to disable people and exclude those of us with impairments or long term health conditions. We use the term disabled people in this manifesto to include those with physical, cognitive and sensory impairments, people with learning difficulties; Deaf people, deafened, hard of hearing people, mental health system users, and survivors, and others.

We recognise our commonalties in fighting for change as well as our multiple identities including: class, Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) identities, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) identities, gender, age, faith. The manifesto identifies our common cause in challenging our exclusions together. It recognises that we do so in the context of our shared principles and under the banners of the Social Model of Disability and the Cultural Model of Deafness.

Our manifesto sets out our shared vision for an inclusive and equal society free from economic, social and cultural barriers. It does not claim to be exhaustive or set out extensive plans and proposals. It is rather a ‘road-map’ setting out a vision for real sustainable change and alternative approaches to key areas of our lives. It is a living document that will be developed in the lead up to the 2015 elections.

Disabled people are impacted by overall austerity cuts 9 times more than the rest of the population and disabled people with the severest impairments are experiencing cuts 19 times greater compared with the rest of the population. We are losing £28 billion of essential welfare support. Our local authority, social care and other support systems are in crisis, while our rights and the opportunities to exercise those rights, are under threat as never before. In 2013 we see that austerity measures are failing the vast majority of our citizens, poverty is increasing and disabled people are seeing support stripped away as part of the imposed austerity policies. Yet, the HM Revenue and
Customs estimate a ‘tax gap’ of £32 billion per year because of corporate tax evasion and avoidance whilst other tax experts put the ‘tax gap’ figure at £120 billion per year.

There are 11 million disabled people in the UK. We want to see a society that supports and enables full citizenship for all. A well resourced and efficient welfare infrastructure is achievable. Disabled people must have the enforceable right to live independently and to live a life of full inclusion, spontaneity, choice, family, friends, education, work and community. The state must provide appropriate funding and support to enable disabled people and all people to live lives of equality, independence, and dignity.

Our Vision

Our vision is a shared belief in a society based on the values of equality, and human rights, with full participation and inclusion for disabled people. To achieve this we need:

  • A society where every person is valued and is recognised as contributing value
  • A society that celebrates diversity
  • A society that actively eliminates discrimination and exclusion to enable full citizenship

We want to see real access to equal opportunities and equal life chances.  Disabled peoples’ inclusion must be a right, not a continuous struggle.

Our Principles

  • The UNCRDP and our human and civil rights must be fully implemented, promoted and enforceable
  • Disabled people must have the right to enjoy the same degree of autonomy, and control over their day-to-day lives, and their long-term futures as non-disabled people
  • Legislation and policy must support an inclusive society whereby disabled people are valued citizens and members of the community
  • Disabled people must be provided with the support, assistance and equipment that will enable them to participate with other citizens (both disabled and non-disabled) on equal terms, and with equal opportunities, across all areas of life.
  • Disabled people must be centrally involved in legislation, policies, initiatives and services that affect our lives.

Our Priority Demands

  • A Fully Inclusive Education System: All disabled learners must have the legal right to attend courses in all education settings within a fully inclusive education system that meets their individual needs.
  • A Legal right to Independent Living and Self- Determination: The creation of specific independent living law: a legal right that fully enacts and enforces, as domestic law, the UNCRPD incorporating the 12 pillars of independent living8 as its key goals and principles.
  • Welfare Support and Housing: All disabled people have a right to inclusive welfare support, and housing under the principles of universal design
  •  Access, Inclusion and Full Participation for Disabled People: The creation of legal status for British Sign Language, and disabled people’s access on an equal basis with others to the environment, to transportation, justice, family life, the arts; and to accessible information/communication (For example: Easy Read, BSL, Video Relay Services / Video Interpreting Services, lip-readers, speech to text, assistive software, support from fully qualified communication support workers and so on.
  • All Disabled People have a right to Work and Employment: A comprehensive and strategic plan of action to tackle the discrimination and exclusion disabled people face in employment and work.
  • A Disabled Person Citizen’s Income: The creation of a disabled person citizen’s income that reflects the level of income that a disabled person needs to cover the additional economic, social, cultural and impairment costs disabled people experience. It should replace the plethora of different, flawed benefits that are currently in place.
  • Real and Effective Co-Production with user-led Deaf and Disabled Peoples Organisations across the UK: Ensure meaningful, well resourced and accessible co-production with disabled people and their organisations at local, regional and national levels on all issues affecting us.

This manifesto was developed by disabled people and their organisations across the UK.

Inclusion London
For more information contact Inclusion London: 336 Brixton Road, London, SW9 7AA
Tel: 020 7237 3181, SMS: 0771 839 4687