Life still ‘unfair’ for Redbridge’s disabled people

Jon Abrams, from Redbridge Disability Consortium

Jon Abrams, from Redbridge Disability Consortium - Credit: Archant

Disabled people have said “life is still very unfair” in the borough, two years after a damning charity report highlighted the challenges they faced.

Access to benefits, difficulty with form filling and a “profound lack of confidence” in health care staff were identified as the topics of most concern by Redbridge Disability Consortium in 2015.

Printed testimonials and interviews with residents only added to the account which painted a very grave picture – one that was riddled with unfairness and hardship.

Twenty-four months on, and the situation isn’t much better, with some stating that it has got much worse.

Jon Abrams, of Redbridge Disability Consortium, said disabled people in the borough still face many barriers.

“The feeling amongst deaf and disabled people in Redbridge is that life is still very unfair and that progress on fairness and equality is going backwards,” he said.

“The brutal fact is that disabled people still face many barriers in accessing paid work, health and social care services, leisure activities and accessing transport and adequate housing.

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“There is also a persistent and widening disability pay gap, deteriorating access to justice and welfare reforms are significantly affecting the already low living standards of disabled people.”

Despite significant progress in the laws protecting disabled people’s rights, Jon said the brutal fact is they are being left behind and their life chances remain very poor.

“They are still not being treated as equal citizens and continue to be denied the opportunities and outcomes non-disabled people take for granted,” he said.

He is calling on Redbridge Council to conduct an impact assessment to see how this section of the community has been affected in light of austerity, welfare reform and transport changes.

“Urgent action is needed and we must have a concerted effort in Redbridge to deliver the changes that are desperately needed to make life fairer for disabled people in Redbridge.”

The council did not respond to our request for comment by the time the Recorder went to press.