Headlines: July 17th, 2006

Representatives from local authorities and central government will be joined by people with disabilities in a review of Government policy on independent living for disabled people. The review was announced by Baroness Royall, a government health spokesman in the House of Lords, who said that for too many people independent living was still a dream.She said the cross-Government review would identify practical steps that needed to be taken and look for creative solutions to the obstacles faced by many disabled people. “Independent living is a reality for some disabled people in spite of the disabling barriers that still exist. However, in its fullest sense, independent living is still a dream for too many,” she told peers.

The review will be led by a team in the Office for Disability Issues, with Jenny Morris as its Executive Director. It will be steered by an Independent Living Expert Panel, chaired by Dame Jane Campbell and bring together the views and experience of officials from central and local government as well as people with disabilities and organisations of disabled people.

Baroness Royall said the Government had made huge strides in enabling more disabled people to live autonomously, but more needed to be done so all disabled people had the same choice, freedom, dignity and control over their lives as non-disabled people.

The review will develop imaginative solutions in the areas of health, social care, transport, employment and housing and develop thinking on the relationship between independent living and individual budgets as well as making practical proposals for activity to support independent living. It will report regularly on its progress to the Independent Living Expert Panel and detailed proposals are expected to be published next summe