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DRC welcomes new board in CEHR to tackle inequalities faced by disabled people

The Chairman of the Disability Rights Commission (DRC) has today welcomed the appointment of members of the Disability Committee within the new Commission for Equality and Human Rights (CEHR).

The Disability Committee, one of three statutory committees within the new body, will advise the CEHR on eradicating the inequalities faced by disabled people. The new Commission takes over the role of the DRC, the Commission for Racial Equality (CRE) and the Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC) on 1st October, 2007.

Sir Bert Massie, Chairman of the DRC, said:

“The DRC and disabled people fought hard for the Disability Committee which has a clear, statutorily defined role to ensure disability continues to receive high priority within the new Commission. It is encouraging that that the membership of the Committee, a majority of whom are disabled people, comprises such major and effective individuals covering a wide range of impairments and experience.

“Although there has been progress over the last decade, disabled people still face huge barriers getting work, qualifications and vital support in the home. This has a huge impact as disabled people’s talents go wasted and many face poverty because they lack the opportunity to contribute to society. These are important issues for our society to get to grips with and for the new Commission to tackle.

“This year, the DRC published the Disability Agenda which offers a fresh approach both to existing and new challenges expected over the next ten years. The Disability Agenda calls for more family-centred policies - such as flexible working and raising disabled people’s skills. It is vital that we see greater investment in public services - like social services - to deliver what disabled people and their families need. Without action, these challenges will create new patterns of inequality and widening disadvantage that Britain can ill-afford.”

The DRC’s Disability Agenda found that:

Only five out of ten disabled citizens are in paid work, compared with almost eight in ten other working age adults.
Disabled people are twice as likely as non disabled people to have no qualifications at all. Improving the skills of disabled people would boost the economy by £35 billion over 30 years.
One in three children in poverty has a disabled parent.
Six million carers (60% are women) fill the gap of social services. Most carers give up work, impacting on their pension.

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