Why Do We Need A Minister For Disabled People?


There hasn't been a Minister for Disabled People for 6 days, why is this an issue?

In case you haven’t noticed, there hasn’t been a Minister for Disabled People, Health and Work in Government for the past 6 days. The previous role-holder was moved to the Home Office during the latest Cabinet reshuffle. Interestingly, every other newly vacant position has since been filled but not this one. The question has to be asked – why not? Vicky Foxcroft MP, Shadow Minister for Disabled People, has been raising this regularly on X and I don’t doubt she will also be raising concerns privately. There are low rumblings of concern that this role is being ‘phased out’, I find this very concerning as, although disabled people are a minority, we are a significant minority. ‘ The latest estimates from the Department for Work and Pensions’ Family Resources Survey indicate that 16.0 million people in the UK had a disability in the 2021/22 financial year. This represents 24% of the total population‘ We need, and have a right to, representation within Government.

There is the argument that previous role-holders didn’t do a very good job, that disabled people’s quality of life, finances, opportunities and health inequalities have never been worse and so ‘what have they ever done for us’ has been said repeatedly online in the past 6 days, but to have no representation at all is as low as it can get in terms of an ability to have a voice in Parliament.

It means that Vicky Foxcroft MP is doing her job with her hands tied behind her back (which is where the rumour of ‘phasing out’ comes from) as she has no ‘opposing Minister’ to hold to account as the Shadow Minister. How long before Vicky is told her Shadow role is being dissolved? I hope that doesn’t happen as she has been incredibly helpful and supportive with my M.E work over the past 3 years and there is clearly a need for the work she does.

Here is the Gov.uk webpage that outlines the responsibilities of this role.

Here are just a selection of questions tabled by Vicky Foxcroft MP in the past month to give an idea of the range of issues dealt with within this role

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether he has made an assessment of the potential impact of the Autumn Statement 2023 on the finances of people with complex disabilities.

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how much his Department has spent on the Health Transformation Programme. (Raised on my behalf – relates to a Stripy Lightbulb CIC project)

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps his Department plans to take to support people with (a) arthritis and (b) musculoskeletal conditions who have been out of work for longer than six months into work.

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment he has made of the potential impact of the proposed changes to the Work Capability Assessment on disabled people’s finances.

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many British sign language users accessed Jobcentres in the most recent period for which data is available.

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment he has made of the impact of phone-based applications for Personal Independence Payment on people with energy-impaired illnesses. (Vicky Foxcroft asked this question on my behalf with a Stripy Lightbulb CIC-related project)

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many calls were responded to by mental health ambulances in London in each of the last 12 months for which data is available.

I would ask anyone reading this blog to support Disability Rights UK’s demands to have this Minister for Disabled People role refilled – information here

I have no idea who would fill this vacant position but, in a perfect world, it should be someone with either a lived experience of having a disability OR supporting/caring for a disabled person. I’m dreaming though aren’t I? Particularly given this role is housed within the Department for Work and Pensions remit. Cynic….me? Absolutely.

Foggy tweeted Prime Minister Rishi Sunak this week and said he would like to apply for the position. As he wrote, he ‘gets’ disability and is AWESOME. If you support Foggy in his quest please tweet your support using #Foggy4MP


Paws crossed this vacancy is filled soon, disabled people and related issues have already been neglected for 6 days – Team Foggy think this is completely unacceptable.

Love from Sally

and Foggy OBVIOUSLY xx

ps. Foggy is now with his next Foggy-Sitter, they will be heading off on adventures next week. Exciting times ahead – Transatlantic flights and a Mediterranean cruise within the next 3 weeks!

Don’t forget to donate – Thank you and Foggy snogs xx