What disabled Londoners want from the next mayor
4 May 2016
Those elected will play a key role in almost every aspect of London life.
To make sure the voices of disabled Londoners were heard in the run-up to the election, we co-hosted What London means to us: a mayoral disability hustings.
The Q&A event brought together nearly two hundred disabled people, including people who use our services and Can Do volunteers, to put their questions directly to the candidates:
- Sadiq Khan (Labour)
- Zac Goldsmith (Conservatives)
- Caroline Pidgeon (Liberal Democrats)
- Caroline Russell, standing in for Siân Berry (Green Party)
There was a great atmosphere in the room, with only standing space by the time the questions began.
The candidates outlined their commitments on a range of issues important to disabled Londoners including housing, transport, accessibility, hate crime and employment.
In the worst cases, people cannot get through their front door, may have to sleep in their sitting rooms or wash at the kitchen sink.
Our research found more than half (54%) of people with mobility problems who looked for accessible homes found them difficult to find.
Zac Goldsmith (Conservatives) committed to making it easier to adapt existing housing to ensure it is accessible for disabled people:
‘We need to put as much emphasis as possible on retro-fitting and fixing existing homes so they can accommodate the very large number of [disabled people] who need accommodation that is appropriate.’
This prevents people accessing services, engaging in their communities and going to work.
Caroline Russell (The Green Party) committed to increasing step-free access to tube stations.
‘It is shocking when you look at the tube map that shows you only the accessible tube stations and you realise how unacceptably inaccessible London is.’
Sadiq Khan (Labour) committed to ensuring staff at City Hall are properly trained and know where to signpost disabled people for assistance.
‘What’s really important is that we mainstream accessibility of services as an issue. And not have it as an afterthought.’
Many disabled people in London do not feel safe in their local communities, and every year thousands are the victims of disability hate crime.
Caroline Pidgeon (Liberal Democrats) committed to investing in policing as part of a strategy to make our streets safer and reduce disability hate crime.
‘We have to have a new strategy making it easier to report (hate crimes) and investigate them and most importantly to prosecute them.’
Priorities for London’s next mayor
Today we, along with our partner charities, have published our report summarising all the commitments made by the candidates and calling on the next mayor of London to:
- increase the stock of accessible housing, including ensuring more wheelchair accessible homes are built in London
- make London safer by increasing investment in policing and other services to tackle disability hate crime, and ensuring people know how to report instances of hate crime
- make it easier for disabled people to get around the city, including ensuring all buses, trains and taxis are accessible and staff on public transport have undertaken disability awareness training
- create more employment opportunities for disabled people, including through greater access to apprenticeships, and ensure they have the support they need to access and stay in work
If you missed it, you can watch a video of the event and see how Twitter reacted.