Government Launches National Disability Strategy To Help Improve Accessibility In Housing

The government has launched a multi-part £1.6bn strategy to help improve the lives of disabled people, help improve independence and accessibility in homes, as well as require landlords to ensure that common areas are accessible to all.

The National Disability Strategy, a multi-departmental document that includes every corner of the government, was developed with input from more than 14,000 disabled people to ensure people can live independent and fulfilling lives.

The strategy has been divided into three parts, including the immediate stops the government will take to help disabled people in their everyday lives, a part on how disabled people will be included in how the government makes decisions and acts on them, and a list of each department’s commitments.


What Will Change Now?

One of the most major and immediate changes is in housing. An accessible bathroom, kitchen or bedroom can make a considerable difference to a person’s life, and in some cases can mean the difference between someone being able to live independently or not.

According to the government’s own data, 95 per cent of people who set up minor adaptations to their home said that their quality of life improved, however only 9 per cent of homes in England have these four main accessibility features:

  • Bathroom on the ground floor,
  • Wide enough doorways and circulation space for a wheelchair,
  • Obstruction-free entry,
  • Level access.

To this end, the government has pledged to increase the supply of affordable housing that is suitable for the needs of disabled people, including supported housing and adaptations of existing homes, using a £73m Disabled Facilities Grant to do so.

As well as this, disabled tenants’ will have extended rights, including requiring landlords to provide accessible common rooms, hallways, entrances and stairs. This provision is also aimed to ensure disabled people are protected during emergencies.

Outside of the home, the National Disability Strategy also aims to improve access to public buildings, offices, railway and bus stations, ferry and airports, as well as private hire and taxis.

This includes a nationwide audit of railway stations to ensure step-free access is available to and from every platform, as well as adding tactile paving to every platform to avoid accidents. Similar accessibility initiatives have been launched for lifeline ferry ports and bus stations.

A consultation was similarly launched to tackle the issue of pavement parking, which restricts the pavement and potentially forces pedestrians to travel into the road to navigate around parked vehicles.


Other Major Policies

The National Disability Strategy includes over 100 policies, which outside of housing also aim to improve other aspects of disabled people’s lives, from transport provision to helping empower disabled candidates to run for political office.

One major aspect that is being targeted is high streets, shopping centres and hospitality areas. According to the UK Disability Survey, an alarming 78 per cent of shops and shopping centres were either impossible or extremely difficult to access for disabled people.

The government aims to make high streets more accessible and improve the standards for accessible websites online.

Other initiatives include improving access to work adjustments to enable disabled people to stay in work or start work, as well as improve funding for special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) provision in schools and colleges.


If you’re working from home and need to update your mobility bathroom for extra accessibility, visit our site today, or if you are interested in finding out more information call us on 01491 411041 or visit our website.

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