The minister for disabled people has dismissed a damning UN report on her government’s disability rights record, arguing that the rest of the world should instead be learning from the UK’s policies.
Penny Mordaunt was speaking weeks after the UN’s committee on the rights of persons with disabilities said the government’s social protection policies had caused a “human catastrophe” for disabled people.
The short debate was secured by the SNP’s Deidre Brock, but took place towards the end of the parliamentary week, when most MPs had returned to their constituencies, so only a handful of MPs were in the Commons chamber to hear the debate.
Brock said the government’s austerity policies were responsible for causing disabled people “a river of human misery”.
And she said the UN committee had criticised the government’s “austerity fetish” and had called on the government to “backtrack” on its cuts to independent living support.
Brock called on Mordaunt to promise to include disabled people and their organisations in its work to address the more than 80 recommendations made by the committee, and to ensure that they were adequately funded for this work.
She also called on Mordaunt to commit to carrying out an assessment of the cumulative impact of all her government’s cuts and reforms to disabled people’s support – and to review the benefits system’s conditionality and sanctions regime – as recommended by the report.
The Labour MP Luke Pollard criticised the government for failing to provide a full statement to MPs after the UN report was published.