This month, to mark Disability History Month UK (16 November 2022 - 16 December 2022) and International Day of Persons with Disabilities on 3 December, we're looking at the government's plans for a Disability Action Plan and how East West Railway Company is planning to lift the barriers to accessible travel.
Disability Action Plan
To mark International Day of Persons with Disabilities, on 2 December the government announced a new cross-departmental Disability Action Plan which will be consulted on and published in 2023.
It will set out the practical action ministers across government will take over the next two years to improve disabled people’s lives.
The announcement follows the Minister for Disabled People, Health and Work, Tom Pursglove MP, officially opening the Global Disability Innovation Hub (GDI Hub) research lab at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.
Mr Pursglove, the MP for Corby and East Northamptonshire, said: "Over one in five people in the UK are disabled. It’s vital we continue to take concerted action across government to improve disabled people’s lives.
"I’ll be bringing forward our Disability Action Plan in 2023 to build on government reform of the disability agenda, underlining our global leadership on disability rights and leading the way in areas such as assistive tech and accessibility.
"It was inspiring to visit the GDI’s new research lab where this type of innovation is in action – unlocking opportunities so that more disabled people can reach their potential."
East West Rail
The East West Railway is currently planning how it will make sure its services are accessible to as many people as possible.
Caroline Eglinton, the Company's head of inclusion (pictured above), said: "As a brand new railway, we have the unique opportunity of making EWR fully accessible right from the start, where every aspect of the customer experience is considered."
She said it was important to consider the wide range of disabled people – including physical and mental, visible and non-visible conditions. She highlights that as a disabled person herself she feels "passionate about lifting the barriers on accessible travel."
A large part of her role will be building relationships with disabled people locally – listening to views and feeding this insight back into the Company's teams.
She added: "A critical resource will be our Accessibility Advisory Panel, which we’re recruiting for now. This panel will include disabled people who live across the proposed route and meet regularly to consider things like access to stations and platforms, clarity of information and the onboard experience."
See the attached document for further information on the Accessibility Advisory Panel or click the website below for more information on inclusion in East West Rail