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30 Jul 2021
ukactive: government’s Disability Strategy "falls short"
By Tom Walker
ukactive: government’s Disability Strategy
ukactive said the strategy fails to give due prominence to the myriad benefits of being active
Photo: Shutterstock/Roman Zaiets
Industry body ukactive has joined the chorus of organisations across a number of sectors calling the government's new National Disability Strategy a "missed opportunity".

While campaigners and charities have welcomed some of the measures introduced in the £1.6bn strategy – such as plans to increase the number of accessible homes and to invest in disability sport – the consensus is that the plan lacks ambition and focus.

According to ukactive, the strategy fails to recognise the full value of the physical activity sector and the role it plays in tackling inequalities.

Timothy Mathias, strategic lead for Inclusion at ukactive, said: “We welcome the intention behind the National Disability Strategy and note the commitments within this from the DCMS to address the inequalities encountered by disabled people in physical activity.

“The strategy rightly includes the need to widen participation across all forms of physical activity for disabled people, including working with Sport England to invest £20m across 2021-22.

“However, it fails to give due prominence to the myriad benefits of being active for disabled people, or to detail how the Government will work with our sector to reduce the barriers faced.

“The physical activity sector is essential in providing opportunities for people to stay active and healthy, regardless of background, age or ability.

“In order to create a truly level playing field, the Government must recognise the full potential of our sector and ensure that our nation’s gyms, swimming pools and leisure centres are properly supported to recover from the pandemic and grow."

Among the other critics of the strategy have been Disability Rights UK, Sense and Scope – one of the UK's leading disability charities.

James Taylor, Scope's executive director of strategy, impact and social change, said: "Despite a commitment to ‘build back better for disabled people’ the National Disability Strategy has missed the opportunity to address the inequalities that have grown as a result of COVID-19."

Scope's CEO, Mark Hodgkinson, added: "Many of the short term commitments made are to be welcomed, but the Strategy as a whole falls short of the transformational plan that many disabled people expected and deserve.

"Unless we get clear details beyond the next 12 months, it is difficult to see how life will be significantly different for the next generation of disabled people."

To find out more and to read the government Disability Strategy, click here.

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