Independent living – Government action
UK Government actions
- In September 2021, the UK Government announced significant new funding arrangements for health and social care; £5.4 billion investment in adult social care in England over the next three years. It also recommitted to introducing a white paper on social care reform before the end of 2021.
- In July 2021, the UK Government published the National Disability Strategy, with supporting independent living as one of its overall themes.
- In July 2021, the UK Government published plans to prevent avoidable detentions in mental health settings as part of the refreshed autism strategy, including funding to accelerate discharges and improved access to community support and housing. The UK Government also published a response to the independent review of long-term segregation and the Care Quality Commission (CQC) review of restraint.
- In July 2021, the UK Government launched a consultation on proposals to change how health and disability benefits and employment support are provided.
- In January 2021, the UK Government published proposals to reform the Mental Health Act based on the principles of: improving choice and autonomy; the least restriction; therapeutic benefit; and the person as an individual. This followed an independent review published in December 2018.
- In December 2020, Coronavirus Act provisions allowing temporary changes to safeguards in mental health detention in England and Wales expired. Provisions allowing changes to the delivery of children’s care and easements to adult social care duties in England expired in September 2020 and July 2021 respectively.
- Between September and December 2020, the UK Government held a public consultation on raising accessibility standards for new homes.
- In January 2019, the NHS England Long Term Plan extended a previous target to halve the number of people with autism or learning disabilities detained in inpatient settings from March 2020 to March 2024.
Welsh Government actions
Independent living is a partially devolved matter. While social security and employment are reserved to the UK Government, the Welsh Government has competence over housing, education, health and social care, and aspects of transport.
- In July 2021, in response to the report ‘Locked out: liberating disabled people’s lives and rights in Wales beyond COVID-19’, the Welsh Government committed to establishing a disability Taskforce to develop a disability equality action plan.
- In June 2021, the Welsh Government committed to incorporating the UN Convention of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities into Welsh law.
- In March 2021, the Welsh Government announced the removal of means testing for small and medium housing adaptations for disabled people living in privately owned homes.
- In March 2021, the Welsh Government published its new national transport strategy, which includes commitments on accessibility.
- In July 2021, Coronavirus Act provisions allowing time-limited modifications to adult social care duties in Wales expired.
- Between August and November 2020, the Welsh Government held a consultation on ensuring that affordable homes are built to the Lifetime Home Standard.
- In September 2019, the Welsh Government published ‘Action on Disability: The Right to Independent Living’, an action plan to withdraw barriers for disabled people across a range of areas of life, replacing the previous 2013 framework.
- In April 2019, the Welsh Government published standards setting out the minimum service expectations for housing adaptations.