Disability

Page updated:

Major revision January 1990
Last amendment Autumn 2012

Terms used

DY100 This policy relates to all disability, sickness and mental health issues. This includes hearing and vision and brain differences of all kinds. We recognise that many impairments such as those relating to sight, hearing and intellect are not visible or apparent. This policy is intended to provide some general policy principles relating to disability.

Disability is a social phenomenon and an evolving concept. Disability results from the interaction between people with impairments and attitudes and barriers that hinder their full and effective participation in society on an equal basis with others.

Background

DY200 Traditional legal and policy views of ‘disability’ have been based on the “medical’ or ‘individual’ model. “Fixing” impairments by aids, assistive technology and rehabilitation have been emphasised where the individual model dominates. We do need effective provision in this area to enable people to live independently.

The social model of disability is based on the view that it is society which disables. This approach focuses on the need to adapt society to enable (rather than disable) people with impairments. The barriers to equality mainly arise from the environment such as inaccessible buildings and services, attitudes such as stereotyping, discrimination and prejudice, and also organisations policies and practices.

Disability is something imposed on people’s impairments by the way they are unnecessarily isolated and excluded from full participation in society. Disabled people are therefore an oppressed group in society.

The bio-psychosocial model which was based on the recognition of the mindbody continuum has gained credence and has been interpreted in some policy areas in ways that are unhelpful to disabled people and which prevent them from enjoying their full rights as citizens.

The rights based approach to disability is based on the conviction that disabled and non-disabled people should be equally valued. Disabled people cannot be squeezed into narrow concepts of normality.

New laws from December 2006 placed a duty on public bodies to promote disability and these were  incorporated in the Equality Act 2010. The Equality Act 2010 aims to protect disabled people and prevent disability discrimination. It provides legal rights for disabled people in the areas of employment, education, access to goods and services, buying and renting land and property and provision by public bodies.

The Green Party supports the EU in viewing disability as a social construct and recognises that the link between poverty and disability is well established. The FETD (Framework Equal Treatment Directive First) however, applies only in the context of employment and occupation. This contrasts with the other Article 13 directive, the Race Directive, which applies to social protection, education, housing and goods and services as well as employment which limits the application of the FEDT for disability.

Principles and policies

DY300 The Green Party demands an inclusive society. This does not mean integrating disabled people into a not yet-disabled world but means redefining society according to the perspectives of all people, not just the not yet-disabled.

Social and Political Enablement

DY400 The Green Party supports the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Disabled Persons.

DY401 The Green Party affirms that all human rights and fundamental freedoms apply to everyone and cannot be divided. Disabled people should be guaranteed the full enjoyment of rights and freedoms without discrimination.

DY402 The Green Party is committed to the maxim adopted by the Disability movement “nothing about us without us”.

DY403 The Green Party would extend present UK legislation to ensure that disabled people are treated as full citizens with protection against any discrimination.

DY404 The Green Party supports the extension of the FETD (Framework Equal Treatment Directive First) to include the same rights as those relating to any other form of oppression not just employment rights.

DY405 Government policy should not be based on the advice of private sector companies which will profit from the advice they give.

DY406 Disabled people have a right to services and supports that enable them to participate as full members of our democratic society, particularly elected office.

DY407 The Green Party is committed to ensuring that all new policies should be considered from the perspective of whether they promote equality.

DY409 Public awareness of the level of oppression of disabled people must be raised through a public awareness campaign to be devised jointly with disabled peoples' groups.

Economic empowerment

DY500 The Green Party recognises that the majority of disabled people live in poverty and will work towards ensuring that this is addressed through its income policies and by ensuring effective equality of opportunity in education, training and employment.

Enabling Education and Training

DY600 There will be no compulsory integration of individuals (or abolition of 'special schools').

DY601 All schools will be deemed to be all-ability schools. We support the statutory duty of all school to provide for the needs of any child.

DY603 Adult education will operate on the same basis as that for children and young people.

DY604 Training and support services will recognise that individuals with different abilities may need different facilities and approaches.