- Post date:
- Friday, 26 May 2017
With one week to go before the General Election on 8 June, we asked the main political parties to explain in just 60 seconds why blind and partially sighted people should vote for them.
Listen to each party’s response or read the transcript. Both the Labour Party and Plaid Cymru Party have voiced their own submissions, and the audio clips from UK Independence Party, the Greens, Scottish National Party, Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats have been voiced by RNIB Connect Radio presenters.
Conservative Party statement
“This election is the most important decision for generations. It’s an opportunity to give Britain the strong and stable leadership needed to take us through difficult Brexit negotiations and beyond.
Theresa May and her Conservative team can offer that leadership which really matters because we have the opportunity to turn Britain into a Great Meritocracy. And the Conservative Manifesto sets out real steps to make that happen.
A government led by Theresa May will review accessibility and amend regulations if necessary to improve disabled access to licensed premises, parking and housing.
We will get one million more people with disabilities into employment over the next 10 years.
And we will overcome the disgraceful disparities in employment levels amongst groups like the blind or partially sighted by introducing one-year National Insurance Contribution holidays for firms who take on new workers from these groups.
At this election there is only one candidate, Theresa May, offering the leadership needed to use Brexit to create a country that truly works for everyone.”
Green Party statement
“We'll introduce a four-day working week. We will create a living rent for all through rent controls. We will launch a major programme to build affordable homes including half a million social homes and we will bring an end to the cruel and unfair bedroom tax.
We will also make local public transport free for young people also students and people with disabilities; do a thorough review of existing disability support and benefits and scrap ineffective work capability assessments.
We will introduce job sharing for MPs to increase disabled representation and ensure the Access to Work programme is properly funded to allow blind and visually impaired people to progress in their chosen careers.
And last but by no means least, we will fully implement the Equality Act 2010 and ensure the UK complies with all UN commitments on the rights of disabled people.”
Labour Party statement
“Labour believes in the social model of disability that is a society which disables people and it is our job to remove those barriers.
The last Labour government signed the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and the next Labour government will sign the Convention into law.
Too often people who are blind or have visual impairments struggle to access public transport including being refused access to taxis with assistant dogs also suffer reckless pavement parking and an absence of audio announcements on trains, buses and trams. We will take action on these issues to ensure the Equality Act 2010 is upheld and that barriers to employment, housing and education are tackled.
We will also introduce a new social security bill repealing ESA-WRAG cuts
and the new PIP regulations. We will also scrap the work capability assessment and PIP assessment removing the punitive sanctions process.
We want a new culture for our social security system. It’s there for all of us. Like the NHS, it’s based on principles of inclusion and support for all and that’s what we intend to do.”
Liberal Democrats statement
“The Liberal Democrats want to invest in public services especially health and education to ensure that everyone, including those with disabilities get the best possible start in life and the support they need throughout.
We would introduce measures to tackle the discrimination faced by guide dog owners and other assistance dog users and are calling for tougher penalties for taxi drivers who refuse to carry people with assistance dogs and wheelchairs.
The Liberal Democrats are the only party being honest about what must be done to fund health and social care services properly by putting an additional penny on to each income tax band to ensure we get an extra £6b specifically for health and social care. This will help alleviate the funding crisis across the NHS.
The Liberal Demorcrats are committed to removing the 1 per cent pay freeze on public sector workers including NHS staff meaning that a new nurse will be on average £530 better off than under a conservative government.”
Plaid Cymru statement
“My name is Leanne Wood and I am the leader of Plaid Cymru the party of Wales.
Plaid Cymru will fight for a world in which everyone has an equal opportunity to succeed and diversity is embraced and respected.
Plaid Cymru are committed to helping those with all disabilities including those who are blind or partially sighted. We believe we can develop the best welfare policy by working with people with a range of disabilities including those who are blind or partially sighted.
For too long, those who are vulnerable in society and who need a government to look out for them have been punished by the UK Tory government through harsh austerity measures, decimating our welfare system and leaving those who are disabled fighting for their right to social security.
Plaid Cymru MPs will always stand up for the people against the cruel Tory government hell-bent on penalising those who need support.
Plaid Cymru MPs have always opposed Tory cuts to welfare and we need a bigger team of MPs to stand up to the Tory government and defend the people of Wales.”
Scottish National Party statement
“Free eye examinations and full eye health assessments are available to everyone in Scotland. The SNP is committed to providing high-quality eye care.
In 2014, the Scottish Government introduced its long-term strategy, See Hear, to meet the needs of people with deafness and/or sight loss. It was backed by £2 million funding and a further £320,000 in 2016-17.
As part of the SNP’s review of community eye care services the Scottish Government announced plans at the end of last year to ensure that, where possible, patients can receive treatment in a community setting closer to home, making it easier for patients to access the NHS.
We are proud of the steps the Scottish Government has taken to create a social security system in Scotland that is based on the principles of dignity and respect and dismantle the barriers that people with disabilities face.
We recognise that with over a million disabled people living in Scotland and contributing to society, we need everybody to take action to remove barriers and improve the number of disabled people in their workforce so people with disabilities can reach their potential.”
UK Independence Party statement
NB News (archive), Best of Connect
“UK Independence Party (UKIP) will support all disabled people by introducing changes to the welfare system via changes to ESA and PIP.
UKIP would remove the assessment companies because they cost too much.
UKIP wants to see best practice in the NHS for all patients. We would encourage services to be allocated to meet the needs and the hopes of the person who requires it. We would encourage university teaching hospitals to take more student doctors to help with waiting times which at present are not acceptable.
UKIP believes there are people who cannot have anything done about their cataracts because they are not yet considered bad enough. That is a management issue and we need clinicians to do management because the priorities and dynamic they bring would then change things dramatically. The sooner a person gets treatment for cataracts surgery, the sooner they can return to work and enjoy life.
UKIP would take funds out of overseas aid and invest the money into healthcare for all who need it and who are UK residents.
UKIP would always try to make working conditions and pay for NHS staff as good as possible.”