Mar 012012

The Joint Committee on Human Rights (JCHR) today publishes its Report on the implementation of the right of disabled people to independent living in the context of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) which was ratified by the UK in 2009. The Report draws attention to a number of significant human rights issues, including:


  • the need for freestanding legislation to protect the right to independent living in UK law,
  • the effect of current reforms to benefits and services on the ability of disabled people to enjoy independent living,
  • the role played by the UNCRPD in policy development and decision making at all levels of government,
  • the use of equality impact assessments,
  • the effects of devolution on implementation of the UNCRPD, and
  • hate crime


The right to independent living does not exist as a freestanding right in UK law. Although it is protected and promoted to some extent by a matrix of rights, the Committee believes that this is not enough. It argues that the Government and other interested parties should immediately assess the need for, and feasibility of, legislation to establish independent living as a freestanding right. In addition, the Committee concludes that the UNCRPD is hard law, not soft law, and that the Government should fulfil their obligations under the Convention on that basis, and counter any public perception that it is soft law.


The Committee finds that:


  • reforms to benefits and services risk leaving disabled people without the support they need to live independently;
  • restrictions in local authority eligibility criteria for social care support, the replacement of the Disability Living Allowance with Personal Independence Payment, the closure of the Independent Living Fund and changes to housing benefit risk interacting in a particularly harmful way for disabled people;
  • some people fear that the cumulative impact of these changes will force them out of their homes and local communities and into residential care.


It also finds that:


  • the Government had not conducted an assessment of the cumulative impact of current reforms on disabled people. The Report urges them do so, and to report on the extent to which these reforms are enabling them and local authorities to comply with their obligations under the UNCRPD.


  • the UNCRPD did not appear to have played a significant role in the development of policy and legislation, as is required by the Convention. The Committee therefore argues that the Government should make a commitment to Parliament that they will give due consideration to the articles of the Convention when making legislation.


Further, the Committee deprecates changes to the duties of public authorities in England under the Equality Act 2010, which no longer require the production of equality impact assessments of changes in policy, nor the involvement of disabled people in developing policies which will affect them.


The Committee finds variations in the manner in which the devolved administrations have implemented the Convention, and uncertainty as to the role the UK Government should play in ensuring implementation. The Report notes with disappointment the lack of a strategy in Northern Ireland to promote independent living and reminds the UK Government to acknowledge their responsibility to ensure implementation.


The Committee also considers a range of other issues relating to independent living. It recommends that the Government should take further action to ensure that assessments for care needs are portable across the country in order to ensure disabled people’s right to choose their place of residence. It also expresses concern over a growing incidence of hate crime against disabled people and urges the Government take action to foster respect for the rights and dignity of disabled people.



Dr Hywel Francis MP, Chair of the Committee, said: “We are concerned to learn that the right of disabled people to independent living may be at risk through the cumulative impact of current reforms. Even though the UK ratified the UNCPRD in 2009 with cross-party support, the Government is unable to demonstrate that sufficient regard has been paid to the Convention in the development of policy with direct relevance to the lives of disabled people. The right to independent living in UK law may need to be strengthened further, and we call on the Government and other interested organisations to consider the need for a freestanding right to independent living in UK law.”



The members of the Committee Are:

Rehman Chishti MP (Conservative Gillingham and Rainham) Baroness Berridge (Conservative)
Mike Crockart MP (Liberal Democrat Edinburgh West) Lord Bowness (Conservative)
Dr Hywel Francis MP (Labour Aberavon) (Chair) Baroness Campbell of Surbiton (Cross-Bencher)
Mr Dominic Raab MP (Conservative Esher and Walton) Lord Dubs (Labour)
Mr Virendra Sharma MP (Labour Ealing Southall) Lord Lester of Herne Hill (Liberal Democrat)
Mr Richard Shepherd MP (Conservative Aldridge-Brownhills) Lord Morris of Handsworth (Labour)

Clerks to the Committee:

Mike Hennessy (House of Commons) 020 7219 2797 John Turner (House of Lords) 020 7219 6772

Enquiries: 020 7219 2467        Fax: 020 7219 8393        E-mail:


Media Inquiries:  Liz Parratt: 07917 488978.


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  7 Responses to “Rights of disabled people may be at risk, says Human Rights Committee”

  1. This just goes to prove that even the British Government (just like the American Government) is ran by a worthless bunch who only cares about the rich and the taxes the rich pays. Without their taxes, those fools can’t vote themselves another undeserved pay raise nor could the government afford to pay for special interest projects going and keep the government’s pork barrel going.

  2. I’ve been saying all along that the changes will trample over the rights of the disabled to live an independent life and will take away any quality of life. Most of us will be having to beg at the DWP begging bowl. Look at what’s happened with the pensioners. Their basic pensions have been lowered year by year and that’s what’s going to happen with any benefits that you may be allowed to keep, then there is pension credit and now for the disabled there will be PIPs. You will have to apply for them year on year, fill out no doubt a lengthy form, declaring everything you’ve got and most of the more vunerable will not want to complete these forms even if they can, just like the pensioners. There’s a big pot, so we’re told of unclaimed pension credit and that’s what will happen with PIPs. It will be too humiliating and stressful to apply. It’s about time we all rallied and took this to the European court of human rights. I’m not a big fan of the European Union but we may as well use them seeing how they are there.

  3. What is happening must be stopped by whatever means necessary, people are losing their freedom, people are losing their choice, people are losing their lives because of these callous reforms. Whatever help, whatever tactics, whatever pressure can be brought to bear must be now.


    I cried out live on facebook sinse around 17th March 2009. after being forced to move 20th February. A move that was purely designed for abusive purpouses. To abuse me even more than had been abused/grossly and dangerously neglected. thing’s have not changed much just the intemitent levels off abuses.

    How I have cried out for help to so very many. yet no one who could have helped let me down so badly. These crimes against me were not from members of public but my trusted ‘OFFICER’S As they like to call themself. Public Sector Workers”.

    They are now in the procesof finding me a new home under ‘Direct Let’. A priority move in case I ‘MAY POSE A RISK TO MYSELF ORE OTHER’S. But they choose where I live how small it will be how delaperdated it will be and when it will be. It’s just last may I fled out of the fire in to the frying pan to escape Anti Social Family. who were for some unknown reason being protected by my abusive workers. ”DID I SAY UNKNOWN REASON’???? It’s just last July the Police told me if kid’s damage/steal my plant’s they wont charge them not even investigate the theft as IT’S ONLY PLANT’S. The police just a few week’s ago told me they wont arrest children who line up by my garden fence and freely ‘smoke” kid’s 11 o 15 year old. The p-olice blamed me for not coping with anti social behaviour from kid’s and said it was a health issue” Go see a doctor this in the prescence of Housing Official. yet a week later the same Official came to see me and got the shockof his life. He witnessed three kid;s in my garden and over a dozen cheering them on. He later told me in all his 36 years in housing he had never witnessed such bad behaviour. Yet he has not reported back to the Police to say how wrong and ill informed they all were. nor report to my Doctor I have now fell out with oversix month ago as SHE ALSO THINK’S THE KID’S ARE LITTLE ANGEL’S. AND IT’S ALL IN MY MIND.

    I dont have any right’s no choice where and how I live. no right to keep my plant’s no right to sit in my own garden without intruders invading my space. No dignity as I begged for help feebily having to reveal all my very personal health issues. and all I get is a DIRECT LET IN TO THE UNKNOWN. AT GREAT EMOTIONAL AND FINANCIAL COST TO ME. YET AGAIN.

    I would litrally and truethfull ask off the Politician’s mentioned above. PLEASE PLEASE COULD YOU AT LEAST FUND ME THE MONEY SO I CAN HAVE ‘EUTHANASIA” SO AT LEAST I CAN HAVE A SLIGHTLY DIGNIFIED END. IT’S MORE COST EFFECTIVE THAN SCRAPPING ME UP ON A BUST HEAVY TRAFFIC RUSH HOUR. I would not want to be blammed for your hard working tax payer’s blaming me for being late for work. that is apart from my abusers.

    Paul Davidson.

  5. They say “Maybe at risk”, That should be “Are at risk” Blimey when will MP’s grow some balls and take Cameron on head on what are they so scared off?

  6. so why havent they stopped the goverment so far with fair reaching discrimination targetted at the very group that needs protection? i hope they will help overturn some measures placed upon disabled and sick people, and force them to rectify this

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