Lack of disabled access to Parliament highlights wider problem of access

Lisa Nandy MP writes about the problems disabled visitors face when trying to access Parliament - access problems that occur to buildings and transport everywhere.

By Lisa Nandy MP (Labour, Wigan)

Yesterday I asked the Speaker of the House of Commons to investigate why, last week, people with disabilities left Parliament feeling disappointed – and in some cases humiliated – after trying to attend a debate on disabled access to public transport.

Watch my question, and the Speaker’s reply:

The response from the House authorities has been swift and genuine. The constraints of the Parliamentary building are obvious and on so many occasions the House staff rise to the challenges it presents.

The fact that we, collectively, fell short on this occasion makes me wonder, not about the will of the staff involved who are clearly dedicated to ensuring access for all, but about whether in 2011 we have outgrown a building that cannot cater easily for the 12 million people with disabilities in the UK.

Sadly, the response from the House of Commons is not always replicated elsewhere. Nearly 16 years after the Disability Discrimination Act that offered hope to people across the country, many of my constituents are still unable to get on a train or a bus to take part in activities that many of us take for granted – going to work, shopping or seeing friends.

In advance of last week’s debate I was inundated with stories of people left stranded, unable to get on or off trains and buses. Nearly half of all train stations do not have level access, London Underground remains largely a no-go area for people in wheelchairs and people whose disabilities are not obvious told me they had been questioned to a humiliating degree about their concessionary pass.

Running through all of these stories like a thread was a common story of humiliation and anxiety that is entirely inappropriate in 2011.

Yet despite progress urgently needed, there is a risk this situation is not getting better, but worse. With cancelled station upgrades, ticket office closures and abolished concessionary fares, it is not at all clear that by 2020 we will even have met the most basic requirements promised to people by legislation passed 16 years ago.

It would be relatively easy to solve this situation. government has enormous purchasing power – nearly half of bus operating revenue comes from the taxpayer and train company franchises are constantly renewed. It is time we took this seriously and made it our top priority.

Early next year the West Coast Mainline franchise is renewed. This will be the first key test for government since the promises made in last week’s debate and I am seeking a commitment disabled access will be a priority for the successful company. Action on this issue is long overdue and for 12 million people in the UK it simply cannot wait.

See also:

Yet another nasty in the welfare bill: Means testing support for the disabled-since-youthDeclan Gaffney, September 22nd 2011

Disabled people fear further impoverishment as cuts begin to hitKaliya Franklin, September 1st 2011

Help stop government changes to welfare penalising disabled childrenSam Royston, August 15th 2011

The three things Cameron should know about sickness and disability benefitsDeclan Gaffney, July 27th 2011

DWP admits disability reform based on dodgy figures, as reported by Left Foot ForwardDeclan Gaffney, August 11th 2011

37 Responses to “Lack of disabled access to Parliament highlights wider problem of access”

  1. Maggie W

    Lack of disabled access to Parliament highlights wider problem, says @lisanandy. She's right… http://t.co/Zijhhq7q

  2. Lisa Nandy

    My @leftfootfwd blog on how disabled access to Parl highlights wider issues of disabled access http://t.co/xQL3aBX8

  3. Edward Leathem

    My @leftfootfwd blog on how disabled access to Parl highlights wider issues of disabled access http://t.co/xQL3aBX8

  4. Darren Burgoyne

    RT @lisanandy My @leftfootfwd blog on how disabled access to Parl highlights wider issues of disabled access http://t.co/BkdNlTIl

  5. Alice Murphy

    Lack of disabled access to Parliament highlights wider problem of access | Left Foot Forward http://t.co/NgP01n2C

  6. Keith Saunders

    Lack of disabled access to Parliament highlights wider problem of access | Left Foot Forward http://t.co/NgP01n2C

  7. Michael

    Lack of disabled access to Parliament highlights wider problem of access l Lisa Nandy l Left Foot Forward – http://t.co/zMpjTq82

  8. Pissed Proletariat

    Lack of disabled access to Parliament highlights wider problem of access l Lisa Nandy l Left Foot Forward – http://t.co/zMpjTq82

  9. Lisa James

    RT @leftfootfwd: Lack of disabled access to Parliament highlights wider problem of access http://t.co/IrFmEkq8

  10. Alex Braithwaite

    RT @leftfootfwd: Lack of disabled access to Parliament highlights wider problem of access http://t.co/7D27UtEz

  11. LCD Campaigns

    See Lisa Nandy MP's blog on disabled access to parliament http://t.co/wYeurHIZ

  12. Jacq Kelly

    RT @lcdcampaigns: See Lisa Nandy MP's blog on disabled access to parliament http://t.co/jZ1eDq97

  13. Jacq Kelly

    RT @lcdcampaigns: See Lisa Nandy MP's blog on disabled access to parliament http://t.co/jZ1eDq97

  14. Action Duchenne

    Great post by @lisanandy MP on disabled access to parliament http://t.co/oi7qvMXd (via @leftfootfwd) We've had problems at lobbies #duchenne

  15. Action Duchenne

    Great post by @lisanandy MP on disabled access to parliament http://t.co/oi7qvMXd (via @leftfootfwd) We've had problems at lobbies #duchenne

  16. Dr Marc Bush

    See Lisa Nandy MP's blog on disabled access to parliament http://t.co/wYeurHIZ

  17. Dr Marc Bush

    See Lisa Nandy MP's blog on disabled access to parliament http://t.co/wYeurHIZ

  18. Daniel the nerd

    Great post by @lisanandy MP on disabled access to parliament http://t.co/oi7qvMXd (via @leftfootfwd) We've had problems at lobbies #duchenne

  19. Daniel the nerd

    Great post by @lisanandy MP on disabled access to parliament http://t.co/oi7qvMXd (via @leftfootfwd) We've had problems at lobbies #duchenne

  20. AccessToTravel

    My @leftfootfwd blog on how disabled access to Parl highlights wider issues of disabled access http://t.co/xQL3aBX8

  21. EDF

    British MP raises #disability access issue's in #Parliament, which reflect the wider problems.http://bit.ly/n2HxcT #europe

  22. Christiane Link

    RT @MyEDF: British MP raises #disability access issue's in #Parliament, which reflect the wider problems. http://t.co/xp8JpFlR #a11y

  23. Henry Langen

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  24. Carolyn Anderson

    RT @leftfootfwd: Lack of disabled access to Parliament highlights wider problem of access http://t.co/XS7hNDxG

  25. Susan Archibald

    It has only taken them this long to ask this question http://t.co/NTkptdQz what hope do we have!

  26. Sue Marsh

    RT @leftfootfwd: Lack of disabled access to Parliament highlight wider prob of access http://t.co/ofRvewJN @SallyBercow Love Mr B's response

  27. Nina

    RT @leftfootfwd: Lack of disabled access to Parliament highlight wider prob of access http://t.co/ofRvewJN @SallyBercow Love Mr B's response

  28. Barbara Hulme

    RT @leftfootfwd: Lack of disabled access to Parliament highlight wider prob of access http://t.co/ofRvewJN @SallyBercow Love Mr B's response

  29. people justice

    RT @leftfootfwd: Lack of disabled access to Parliament highlight wider prob of access http://t.co/ofRvewJN @SallyBercow Love Mr B's response

  30. Katherine

    RT @leftfootfwd: Lack of disabled access to Parliament highlight wider prob of access http://t.co/ofRvewJN @SallyBercow Love Mr B's response

  31. Dame Anne Begg

    Lack of disabled access to Parliament highlights wider problem of access: http://t.co/2BSyMSiw writes @LisaNandy

  32. United Response

    Lack of disabled access to Parliament highlights wider problem of access: http://t.co/2BSyMSiw writes @LisaNandy

  33. kennethwatt

    RT @leftfootfwd: Lack of disabled access to Parliament highlights wider problem of access http://t.co/QCYIRMSn

  34. Concordmobility

    Lack of disabled access to Parliament highlights wider problem of access: http://t.co/2BSyMSiw writes @LisaNandy

  35. Disability Horizons

    Lack of disabled access to Parliament highlights wider problem, says @lisanandy. She's right… http://t.co/Zijhhq7q

  36. Brook Graham

    Lack of disabled access to Parliament highlights wider problem, says @lisanandy. She's right… http://t.co/Zijhhq7q

  37. Sue Pellegrino

    Lack of disabled access to Parliament highlights wider problem, says @lisanandy. She's right… http://t.co/Zijhhq7q

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