Thank you for contacting me about people with disabilities.
I strongly disagree with the conclusions reached in the report produced by the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, as does the Government. Individuals and organisations may disagree with the current approach to welfare reform, but I cannot accept the report's conclusion that there is evidence of grave and systematic violation of the rights of disabled people.
I think we can be proud in this country of our record in supporting disabled people to lead more independent lives and participate more fully in society. More than 20 years ago a previous Conservative Government legislated to protect disabled people's rights, and the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 is recognised internationally as a model of anti-discrimination legislation.
The Government spends around £50 billion a year on benefits to support disabled people and people with health conditions. This amounts to around 2.5 per cent of GDP. According to OECD figures, that is more than is spent by other countries including Germany, France and the United States of America. Spending in real terms is also higher than it was in 2010.
While the Government continues to improve and build on the support available to disabled people who are unable to work, more than half a million disabled people have also been helped to move into employment in the last three years. This is a record which the Government can be proud of. While it is perfectly legitimate for some people to disagree with the approach which has been taken to reforming our welfare system, I think it is completely inappropriate to claim that the Government's policies are violating the rights of disabled people.
Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.
Updated: September 2017