Today, Welsh Government has published ‘Locked out: liberating disabled people’s lives and rights in Wales beyond COVID-19‘, a report about the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on disabled people here in Wales. The hard-hitting report also highlights recommendations to be implemented moving forward.
FTWW was a member organisation of the Disability Equality Forum Steering Group, which was involved in coproducing the report, and was delighted to have the opportunity to represent the views of Disabled* women and those assigned female at birth (AFAB). In response to the Report’s publication, the Steering Group has released the statement below:
‘As the Disability Equality Forum Steering Group involved in coproducing the Report Locked Out: Liberating Disabled People’s Lives and Rights in Wales beyond Covid-19, we welcome publication of the report by Welsh Government together with its commitment to establishing a Minister led Task Force which will address the inequalities highlighted in the report and oversee implementation of the actions to tackle these.
The Locked Out Report was submitted to Welsh Government in February 2021 during the depths of the second lockdown and drew on over 300 items of evidence gathered over the previous six months. As well as highlighting the extent of inequality faced by disabled people in Wales, illustrated most starkly by the statistic that 68% of Covid-related deaths in Wales comprise disabled people, the evidence reveals how legislation and policy enacted to secure the rights of disabled people failed to do so even when needed most.
The implementation gap between policy and practice could not be wider. As restrictions lift and the wider public looks forward to a ‘return to normal’, this will not be the case for most disabled people. The lack of engagement with disabled people in local service planning and wider policy has led to even greater exclusion, ranging from access to shops and suitable housing to timely and appropriate health and social care.
The formation of the Minister-led Task Group with representation from a range of national and local stakeholders and, crucially, disabled people, will be vital to identifying solutions that tackle rather than perpetuate inequality and challenging cultural assumptions about disabled people being needy and vulnerable rather than active citizens with rights.
We very much welcome working with Welsh Government in the future to take our recommendations forward, especially in ensuring our shared ambition that the Social Model of Disability is the organising principle for action, and that the UN Convention of the Rights of Disabled People is incorporated in law.’
FTWW will be commenting in more detail on the report and Welsh Government’s response to it in the very near future.
*In this context, we include women and those AFAB who are living with long-term health conditions.