The UK, Welsh and Scottish governments, and the Northern Ireland Executive, share a strong commitment to supporting disabled people to enjoy the choice and control to independent living. This national strategy recognises and builds on the progress that has been made since the Disability Discrimination Act was introduced more than 25 years ago and sets out immediate actions to transform disabled people’s everyday lives.
The National Disability Strategy sets out the actions the government will take to improve the everyday lives of all disabled people. In relation to housing and assistive technology, the Strategy specifically refers to a number of polices and funding streams to improve the accessibility of new homes and adaptability of existing housing under the heading, ‘Housing: creating more accessible, adapted and safer homes’. In particular, the Strategy states:
MHCLG completed a consultation on raising accessibility standards for new homes in England in December 2020, and has been considering the responses and next steps.
The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) will confirm plans to improve the framework to deliver accessible new homes by December 2021 and is commissioning new research to develop the statutory guidance on meeting Building Regulations, covering access to and use of buildings.
We will take steps to increase the supply of affordable and supported housing
MHCLG makes the following commitments:
- MHCLG has committed that 10% of the 180,000 homes built through the £11.5 billion Affordable Homes Programme 2021–26 will be for supported housing.
- The Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC), working with MHCLG, will invest £71 million in the CASSH Fund in financial year 2021 to 2022.
We will accelerate the delivery of home adaptations in England and Wales by improving local delivery of the Disabled Facilities Grant
- Following an independent review of the Disabled Facilities Grant published in December 2018, MHCLG and DHSC will jointly publish new government guidance for local authorities in England on effective delivery of the £573 million Disabled Facilities Grant during 2021.
We recognise the autonomy that home ownership can provide and want to ensure that disabled people, too, have the opportunity to own their own home
- MHCLG will make the new Shared Ownership model, including the reduced (10%) minimum initial stake, available to disabled people buying a home under the HOLD scheme
MHCLG is now reviewing the evidence around means of escape for disabled people, the effectiveness of Approved Document B and possible alternative approaches
- MHCLG has commissioned new research to develop robust evidence to inform policy in England on the means of escape from buildings, care homes and specialised housing for disabled people. This will conclude by autumn 2021.
We will go further to increase innovation and develop new products that will improve disabled people’s everyday lives
- BEIS will challenge UKRI and other research stakeholders to use future innovation challenges to accelerate innovation in assistive technologies.
We will also explore how we can drive improvements in public services through a Centre for Assistive and Accessible Technology
- The Disability Unit will consider new ways to make assistive and accessible technology part of the everyday design of public services.
The strategy is also informed by the findings from a UK Disability Survey and the Policy Lab’s person-centred, lived experience research. This will be published alongside, the strategy and complements a wide programme of engagement that has been running since February 2020.
For regular updates on the work outlined in this strategy and how you can take part through the Disability Unit’s GOV.UK page (opens new window) or email them directly at firstname.lastname@example.org