Joint Committee on the Draft Disability Discrimination Bill Minutes of Evidence


Annex 1

DPTAC'S APPROACH AND ITS BASIS IN POPULATION TRENDS

  1.  DPTAC uses four overarching principles on which to base its advice to Government, other organisations and disabled people on. These are that:

    —  Accessibility for disabled people is a condition of any investment;

    —  Accessibility for disabled people must be a mainstream activity;

    —  Users should be involved in determining accessibility;

    —  Achieving accessibility for disabled people is the responsibility of the provider.

TRENDS IN POPULATION

  2.  DPTAC's principal concern is to ensure accessibility for disabled people. By this we mean inclusive transport systems and built environments that are easy to reach, use and understand by all; in safety and comfort.

  3.  Disabled people account for a significant proportion of the population. People with physical and sensory impairments make up one in five of the UK population, or 8.5 million adults in Great Britain. One in five of these are of working age. In addition, one in six adults will experience some form of mental ill health at some point in their life. It has also been estimated that up to 1,750,000 people may have mild, and up to 350,000 people may have severe learning disabilities.

  4.  Levels of disability increase with age: 8% of those aged 16-17 years have a current long-term disability, compared with 33% of those aged 50 to 65. Disabled people have a spending power of around £40 billion each year.

  5.  Disabled people are not an homogenous group with identical needs. The needs of people with mental health problems or learning disabilities are distinct from those of wheelchair users for example. Even within disabilities needs vary; for example a profoundly deaf person will not benefit from an induction loop.

  6.  Of disabled people overall, in broad terms:

    —  70% have difficulty walking and/or climbing steps;

    —  41% have a hearing loss;

    —  24% have a vision loss.

  7.  The recent 2001 census has confirmed that the population in England has aged and will continue to do so. There is a strong positive correlation between ageing and disability, particularly as ever more people will live into their late 70s and 80s when the incidence of disability rises sharply. In broad terms, over the next 30 years:

    —  The proportion of the population over 65 will increase by 40%;

    —  The number of people aged over 65 will double;

    —  The proportion over 80 will increase by 100% and the number will treble.

  8.  Over the period that will bring about these changes in the population profile, the overall population will increase by less than 7%.

  9.  The nation risks adverse economic as well as social impacts from this growth in numbers of disabled and older people, if we fail to recognise and address the need for more inclusive environments. Mobility and transport are vital to achieving and sustaining self-sufficiency and independence into old age.

  10.  Disabled people live throughout the community. One in four households has a disabled resident. The need for access for disabled people is not limited to specific areas or buildings but present throughout the wider transport and the built environment systems.

A STRATEGIC APPROACH

  11.  There is enormous scope and opportunity to improve accessibility for disabled people but it will require a strong commitment at all levels.

  12.  Accessibility for disabled people is often only considered in terms in terms of detailed design. DPTAC believes this is no longer sufficient and that strategic decisions, investment and policies must be underpinned by consideration of accessibility for disabled people, with evidence of how diversity has been considered in decision making.

  13.  DPTAC welcomes the Government's commitment to accessibility being a condition of public money being spent in Transport 2010.

  14.  Private and public investors of any transport or built environment project need to know whether investment plans meet the need of disabled people. They will also need evidence that people at all levels of responsibility understand how to provide accessibility for disabled people effectively to prevent a waste of resources.





 
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