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Implementation of the Right of Disabled People to Independent Living

14 February 2011

Parliament’s Joint Committee on Human Rights (JCHR) is seeking evidence about independent living for disabled people.

This right is guaranteed by Article 19 of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The committee particularly welcomes evidence from disabled people and their families about how Government policy and legislation and the activities of public authorities can implement this right in practice.

The Committee’s Chair, Dr Hywel Francis, said:

"The Convention on Rights of People with Disabilities is the newest of the UN Human Rights Treaties, ratified by the UK in June 2009, Article 19 recognises the equal right of disabled people to live in the community with choices equal to others.

Parliament’s Joint Committee on Human Rights is keen to hear evidence from disabled people about how effectively this right is upheld in practice, how policy could be improved, and the possible impact of the Comprehensive Spending Review." 

Independent living was placed at the heart of the last Government’s policy on disability. Each of the three main political parties expressed their approval of the Independent Living Strategy published in 2008, which sets out actions aimed at improving the choice and control disabled people have over the services they need to live their daily lives.

The aims of the strategy are that:

  • Disabled people (including older disabled people) who need support to go about their daily lives will have greater choice and control over how support is provided
  • Disabled people (including older disabled people) will have greater access to housing, education, employment, leisure and transport opportunities and to participation in family and community life

In June 2010, the Government explained that it was looking at further ways of taking the Independent Living Strategy forward.

The Committee would particularly welcome evidence on whether existing policy statements represent a coherent policy towards the implementation of obligations in Article 19 UN Convention on Rights of People with Disabilities, and on these recent developments:

  • The decision announced in the Comprehensive Spending Review to remove the mobility component of Disability Living Allowance for all people living in residential care
  • Changes to the Independent Living Fund
  • The "Big Society"
  • Restrictions on local authority funding, social care budgets and benefits reassessments
  • Increased focus on localisation and its potential impact on care provision, and, specifically, on portability of care and mobility for disabled people.

How to respond to the inquiry

The full terms of reference for the inquiry are available below, along with guidance on how to submit your evidence.