Policy and campaigning

National Disability Strategy ruled unlawful – appeal denied

The Government’s National Disability Strategy has been declared unlawful by the High Court. The Strategy, which was launched last July, was announced by the Prime Minister during the 2019 General Election as a flagship once-in-a-generation transformational plan. But following publication, disability campaigners branded the Strategy a PR exercise and to-do list which would achieve little.

To inform the development of the Strategy, the Government launched a UK disability survey in January 2021, receiving 14,000 responses. However, in a case brought forward by four campaigners the High Court found that it was impossible to answer the survey in a meaningful way, criticising the reliance on multiple choice questions and word limited responses. As a result, the High Court branded the consultation and Strategy unlawful, and the judge who heard the case also denied the Government permission to appeal as there are “no compelling reasons to hear an appeal”.

Duchenne UK believe the Government has missed a huge opportunity to make bold, meaningful steps towards improving life for disabled people in the UK. We hope that the National Disability Strategy won’t be scrapped completely, and the Government will focus their attention on producing a new Strategy – which addresses the widely publicised concerns of critics of the first Strategy, and listens to the experiences of disabled people – rather than fighting the decisions of the courts.

For more in-depth reasons for the judgement, please visit the website of the barristers who fought the case on behalf of the four campaigners here (this was published before the appeal was denied).

Published on 9 February 2022

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