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'Austerity created hostile environment for disabled people'

LEARNING DISABILITY WEEK: Labour MP and shadow minister for disabled people, Marsha de Cordova (Image: Marsha de Cordova/Facebook)

A DECADE of “brutal austerity” has created a hostile environment for disabled people in the UK, a Labour MP has said.

Marsha de Cordova, the MP for Battersea and shadow minister for disabled people, has criticised government cuts and called for greater inclusion of those living with disabilities.

In a video message posted to mark the start of Learning Disability Week, de Cordova said: “To many disabled people face barriers to live their lives, whether it’s in access to transport, healthcare, education, employment or housing and a decade of brutal austerity has made it even worse, creating a hostile environment for disabled people across the UK.”

De Cordova, who was elected in 2017 and is registered blind, also urged people to continue to work together to “ensure those living with a learning disability have a right to participate fully and equally in our society”.

The focus of this year’s Learning Disability Week (June 17-23) is sport and inclusion.

According to research by Mencap, a charity that works with people with learning disabilities, 49 per cent of 18 to 35 year olds would like to spend more time outside their house, 18 per cent feel alone and cut off from other people and one in three spend less than one hour outside their homes on a typical Saturday.

Mencap are encouraging people to get involved in inclusive sporting activities in their local communities.

A map detailing various events taking place across the country can be found on their website.

De Cordova has previously spoken out about the challenges she has faced working within parliament with a disability.

Speaking to The Guardian a few months after she was elected, she said: “It has to get better, or no one will want to come here.

“I’m having to experience and go though this so anyone who comes behind me doesn’t have to – if that’s what it takes, that’s what I’ll do.”

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