County Durham mum cautiously welcomes £1.6bn Government disability strategy

A County Durham mum has cautiously welcomed a multi-million pound package to improve opportunities for people with disabilities. The Government unveiled 100 immediate pledges as part of the £1.6 billion strategy looking at education, employment, transport, housing, and a plan to dispel ingrained stereotypes.

Emma Parker from Dipton in County Durham has three sons - Alex, Ben and James. All three of her sons have autism and require special educational support.

Emma says the education system for children with autism is currently not good enough.

Today (28 July), the Government says those tools to better the education system for disabled people will come from a £300 million package to support children with special education needs and disabilities.

Emma says, "It sounds like a lot of money but it isn't. We've probably lost over, just in wages, over £300 million in staff who support children with SEN in the last year. I think the devil is in the detail and what we don't have is the detail."

As part of the strategy, an online access to work adjustments passport will be piloted later this year among recent education leavers, veterans and employees moving between roles to help them enter work, change job and progress their careers.

Wheelchair user Stewart Chappell got his first job at the age of 30 - supporting other disabled people at Skills for People in Newcastle.

Although Labour's deputy leader Angela Rayner, whose son is disabled, blasted the plan as inadequate, Minister's claim it will transform lives.

Thérése Coffey MP, Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, says, "It's all about how we can help people's everyday lives be better. It could be somebody being able to do jury service for the first time because we're going to have sign language interpreters. It also could be about getting on trains, getting on buses, just making life that bit easier everyday."

Former Paralympian, Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson, who sits in the House of Lords, says more detail is still needed.