General election: ‘What are you planning to do to improve the job opportunities for young disabled people?’
2 June 2017
By Albertina Prata
On Tuesday 30 May, candidates representing three of the main political parties answered questions from an audience of disabled people from across the UK. I was there with Leonard Cheshire Disability as a ‘Can Do’ volunteer.
It was such as inspirational moment, sharing stories and feelings with other disabled attendees. I also had an opportunity to give some interviews; for BBC Breakfast and Buzzfeed which was a great experience and has helped develop my confidence.
The disability hustings event for the 2017 general election was attended by more than 100 disabled people, who had the chance to put their questions to candidates representing the Conservatives, Labour and the Liberal Democrats, ahead of the election on 8 June.
This was my second time attending a hustings and the topics discussed included: disability benefits, social care and employment levels for disabled people.
Unfortunately I did not have a chance to ask my question directly to the candidates. If I had been picked my question would have been:
‘What are you planning to do to improve the job opportunities for young disabled people, especially for those who see self-employment as a solution because of a lack of job opportunities?’
This issue is a top priority for me, as someone who is pursuing the route of self-employment at the moment.
From my point of view, disabled people looking for a job are at a disadvantage because they are discriminated in two ways; one for having a disability and also for often having fewer work experiences.
Some of the candidates’ manifestos regarding employment issues contain good proposals around access to apprenticeships for disabled people and improving the Access to Work scheme.
In addition to this, I hope the next government revises the way people with long-term illness and disability are assessed for PIP because a person with disability for a lifetime does not need to be assessed as they already present proof that their condition will not improve.
As an individual with disability this process of being re-assessed for something which you already know does not have cure and will not improve is very frustrating, sad and can be humiliating.
Albertina Prata is a Can Do volunteer