Election issues #1: Disability rights

June 1, 2017

In the days running up to the general election, we will highlight our policies on particular issues that residents have told us are important. The Green Party does not follow the dogma of the mainstream press or the other political parties, it stands up for all people and we put equality, compassion and the environment to the fore.

Today, we consider our position on better rights and support for people with disabilities. Within our Green Party manifesto, we have disability rights as a priority, including redressing benefits injustice with a social security system that gives everyone confidence they will get support when they need it. This week we launched our Disability Manifesto – details are here: https://www.greenparty.org.uk/news/2017/05/29/green-party-launches-disability-manifesto-demanding-empowerment-for-d/deaf-and-disabled-people/

Ben Fletcher, pictured here with Green Co-Leader Jonathan Bartley, is the first ever Deafblind parliamentary candidate, and is standing for the Green Party in Putney.

We are very proud of our party’s commitment, as reflected in this dedicated manifesto specifically centred on empowering people with disabilities. Moreover, 1 in 6 of our Green Party candidates are disabled, including Ben Fletcher, the first Deafblind person to stand for parliament. We are breaking down barriers and showing that everyone can and should be part of politics. Ben launched the manifesto alongside Jonathan Bartley, who co-leads the Green Party as a job share so he can support his disabled son.

Our parliamentary candidate, Martin Whybrow, says: “As a Kent County Councillor, I am only too aware of the cuts that have been imposed from central government, including the appalling changes to the welfare system, around ESA and PIP, that have hit many of our most vulnerable people. Our social care sector is in crisis and front-line services are suffering. The lack of funding and the lack of a proper living wage for people who work in that sector are damning in what is the fifth richest country in the world.”

One other important factor in this context is the need for a fair electoral system. At present, all minorities are disenfranchised, with no collective voice within a first-past-the-post model. Proportional representation would mean that every vote counted so would give a much louder voice and influence to people with disabilities, along with many others, meaning politicians could no longer ignore them.