Video report by Katharine Walker
A new bill to improve services for people with Down's Syndrome is expected to clear its first Commons hurdle today after the Government announced it will support it to become law.
The Down Syndrome Bill has been introduced as a Private Member’s Bill by Dr. Liam Fox, after hearing concerns from his constituents that access to specialised support for Down's Syndrome can be a postcode lottery.
Dr Liam Fox MP said: ''My aim is to deal with three main areas. The first is to de-stigmatise Down syndrome. The second is to ensure that current provision of services is improved''
He added: ''The third is to look ahead and deal with future issues, such as long-term care, in an era where, for the first time, many of those with Down syndrome will outlive their parents.”
Dr Liam Fox MP speaking to ITV News
What is The Down Syndrome Bill?
The Bill is co-sponsored by cross-party MPs and politicians from across the political divide and would mean the establishment of a Down Syndrome Act.
This will essentially introduce a National Strategy for Down's Syndrome, which will encompass, amongst other areas, maternity care, education, health and social care and employment.
The Bill will put people with Down's Syndrome on an equal footing with other minority groups and will mean that councils and public bodies are required to meet the specific needs of people with the condition.
Campaigners are calling for the Bill to receive Royal Assent before World Down Syndrome Day on 21st March 2022.
Tommy Jessop told ITV that people with Down's Syndrome are often underestimated
TV Personalities and campaigners have thrown their support behind the Bill, including Line of Duty actor Tommy Jessop.
He made name as the first actor with Down's Syndrome to star in a prime-time BBC drama.
Tommy told ITV News: ''We are not all the same. We have different talents and personalities just like other groups of people. Hopefully, this Bill will make all the difference.''
However, other groups are calling for further clarity and consultation as the Bill progresses through Parliament and the guidance is developed.
The Down's Syndrome Association said: ''We hope that, alongside existing legislation, the Bill will improve the lives of people who have Down’s Syndrome through its guidance to public bodies.''
They added: ''As the Bill goes through Parliament we would expect there to be full consultation with people who have Down’s syndrome, the DSA, the wider Down’s syndrome community and other stakeholders.''