‘Disabled people’s organisations (DPOs) say measures in the government’s emergency Coronavirus Act – which became law yesterday (Wednesday) – will “run a coach and horses” through their rights to social care.
They spoke out as MPs and peers debated, and then approved, measures that will now restrict rights to social care, the rights of people in mental distress, and the rights of disabled children to education and other support.
A campaign launched by Inclusion London saw more than 2,000 emails raising concerns about the bill sent to MPs in just two days at the start of the week.
Inclusion London said disabled people and DPOs had reacted with “deep shock and concern” to measures that will now remove councils’ duties to provide social care, limit the rights of disabled children to education, and place further restrictions on the rights of people in mental distress under the Mental Health Act.
Tracey Lazard (pictured), chief executive of Inclusion London, said the bill “runs a coach and horses through social care” and “strips disabled people of our rights to this support and removes from local authorities the duties to provide it”.
The social care measures mean key parts of the Care Act will now be suspended, according to one barrister, with another legal expert saying the government had amended the act by “stripping it bare”.
Dennis Queen, a spokesperson for Greater Manchester Coalition of Disabled People, said: “We need urgent action to protect disabled people from the coronavirus and support us to manage our lives – including if we live in an institution, or don’t have access to internet, or physical support.
“Instead, we are having our human rights reduced daily during this crisis.’
Read more: Coronavirus: Disabled people say ‘shocking’ new laws will strip away rights