The Green Party has announced its first Deafblind parliamentary candidate, as it launches a disability manifesto. The party aims to highlight the impact Conservative austerity has had on the lives of disabled people. Ben Fletcher, who works as lead developer for FT.com, will stand in Putney, south London.
“Disabled people are desperately under-represented in public life in Britain,” said the 36-year-old, who is profoundly Deaf and partially sighted. “At a time of deep disillusionment with politics in the UK, it is really important for the MPs elected in 2017 to reflect the diversity of the people they are meant to represent.
“There are over 11 million disabled people in Britain. That’s one in six. And yet many of us are still prevented from participating fully in education, in employment, and in politics because of inflexible, outdated attitudes, needless barriers to access and a general lack of understanding about what disabled people can really achieve if they receive the support they need.”
The Greens say the basic rights and opportunities of disabled people are being removed by Conservative Government. The disability manifesto is proposing a plan for a community-led Care And Support service to provide training and resources to help vulnerable people. It will aim to save money by “supporting wellbeing” and help communities identify and meet the needs of disabled people, alongside councils, the NHS and government.
The manifesto will also highlight the difficulties faced by disabled people trying to receive benefits, such as Personal Independence Payments (PIPs).