You just couldn’t make it up! Not content with misleading other MPs about the so called “success” of the nine regional stakeholder networks across England, the Disability Unit have sent out desperate emails to the Chairs of its regional disability networks, begging for positive accounts of how its policies have improved disabled people’s lives.
The government’s email asks the network chairs: “We are looking for disabled people who would be willing to write up to 100 words about how they have achieved their aspirations, and if there has been a government policy that has supported them to do so.”
Professor Peter Beresford, co-chair of the disabled people’s and service-user network Shaping Our Lives, said the note sent to the network chairs was “a shameful manipulation of reality”.
He said: “Only this government could choose a time when disproportionate numbers of disabled people are dying as a result of its disastrous handling of the COVID-19 pandemic to ask disabled people to send in accounts of their successes to bolster its own appalling record on disability issues.
“If this government wants the truth then let it commission disabled people to carry out independent research on trends in our life chances.”
Mark Harrison, from the Reclaiming Our Futures Alliance (ROFA), said the Disability Unit’s note “smacks of desperation”.
He said: “The fact that they are writing to the chairs of the networks asking for good news stories suggests to me that the feedback coming from surveys that are being filled out is not what the government wants to hear.
“They are putting a PR gloss on 10 years of grave and systematic violations of disabled people’s rights and retrogression against most of the articles of the UN convention [on the rights of disabled people].”