I am likely to have a busy schedule for the next few months – indeed it has been busy for the last 3 years, but we are coming to the zenith of the campaign – and the #SaveWILG campaign was represented by myself at the Disability Wales Conference and AGM at the Ramada Plaza, Wrexham on Friday 12th October.
Please find below the press release for the conference. I feel I spoke well and got my points across to Paul Deer of the Welsh Government who was sitting on the panel of experts. I was then given the opportunity to address the conference after lunch.
An enjoyable and constructive day was rounded off with drinks in the pub with a close comrade. I only hope all this hard work is being listened to by those who can make a difference…
Equal Before the Law?
Making Legislation Work for Disabled People
Today at the Ramada Plaza in Wrexham, Disability Wales is hosting a national conference themed on equality and human rights legislation; and whether disabled people are actually experiencing their rights along with everyone else.
Rhian Davies, Chief Executive Disability Wales states:
“In the wake of UK Government austerity measures, disabled people in Wales and across the UK continue to face serious regression of many of their hard-won rights. Disability Wales Annual Conference will provide a timely opportunity to hear from expert speakers about how disabled people can utilise equality and human rights laws to tackle barriers to independent living”
Disabled people make up 26% of the population in Wales, which has a higher proportion of disabled people than other nations and most regions of the UK. (Papworth Trust 2016)
Disabled people face a higher cost of living than non-disabled people, a cost which is rising year on year.b
Around a third of disabled people experience difficulties accessing public, commercial and leisure goods and services.
(ONS and Stats Wales)
Lesley Griffiths AM Cabinet Secretary for Energy, Planning and Rural Affairs will provide a key note address and outline the Welsh Government’s Draft Framework for Action on Disability: the Right to Independent Living.
“Cabinet Secretary for Energy, Planning and Rural Affairs Lesley Griffiths said: “We want to make sure disabled people have access to the same opportunities as everyone else. Next month we will be publishing our new Framework which sets out how we are addressing social barriers to equality and inclusion.
“It will be accompanied by an action plan to tackle some of the key barriers identified by disabled people themselves, including transport, employment, housing and access to buildings and places.
“This is a result of a great deal of engagement over nearly two years with disabled people and the organisations that represent them and I want to thank everybody who has helped in this process.”
Conference delegates will also hear from Simon Hoffman Associate Professor at the College of Law and Criminology at Swansea University. Simon will talk about Progress made on the incorporation of Human Rights in Wales.
Disabled activist and campaigner Doug Paulley will enlighten the conference on how he has challenged the discrimination he’s encountered using legislation. Doug has brought more than 40 legal cases against organisations that discriminated against him including bus and train companies.
“Fighting disability discrimination takes its toll on you. The constant battle with service providers to get what I am lawfully entitled to has affected my mental and physical health”
“So, the enforcement mechanism of the Equality Act is fundamentally broken, for me and for all disabled people. Despite this, I’ve produced a guide showing how I have occasionally managed to enforce my rights through the courts, and hopefully to help a few other disabled people do so too.”
Ellen Clifford, Campaigns and Policy Manager for Inclusion London will share her vast experience of campaigning for the rights of disabled people.
The event will be chaired and facilitated by Rhian Davies, Chief Executive of Disability Wales. Questions to the panel and round-table discussions will provide an opportunity for lively debate.
The audience includes disabled people and their allies, representatives of Disabled People’s Organisations, third sector and both local and national government bodies.