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Minister for Social Justice Jane Hutt has reaffirmed the Welsh Government’s commitment to the Social Model of Disability after hearing from disabled people about the barriers they have had to overcome in society in Wales.

First published:
3 December 2022
Last updated:

Speaking on International Day of Disabled People (December 3), after meeting people at the Dewis Centre for Independent Living earlier this week, the Minister said the day ‘helps us highlight just how many people experience disability-based discrimination’.

She added that direct payments were ‘crucial’ to help disabled people have independence and the Welsh Government was committed to widening their use. During the Minister’s visit to Dewis, along with the Deputy Minister for Social Services Julie Morgan, she met representatives from both Dow Silicones UK Ltd and Admiral, to hear from both companies about how they use the Social Model of Disability in their recruitment and everyday work.

Kim Eversham from Dow, who attended the event with a number of their Project SEARCH interns, said:

We have been running our Project SEARCH programme for four years and, through the programme, have facilitated ‘Learning Disability’ training for Dow employees to spread awareness, change mindsets and attitudes towards learning disabilities.

Through Project SEARCH, we are committed to changing the lives of young people with learning disabilities and autism and supporting individuals to find meaningful jobs.

Paul Billington, Admiral’s Wellbeing and Workplace Support Manager, said:

Diversity is truly valued here, and we work hard to create a working environment where everyone is heard and supported.

We’re committed to providing opportunity to all by removing barriers in the workplace and broadening the conversation of inclusivity and equality.

Our dedicated Wellbeing and Workplace Support team is available to listen to concerns, implement personalised adjustments, and unlock the full potential of all current and future colleagues.

Minister for Social Justice Jane Hutt said the Welsh Government has established a Disability Rights Taskforce and was striving to ensure that disabled people are able to control their own lives and enjoy all the benefits and rights that others take for granted.

She said:

The Disability Rights Taskforce and its working groups are meeting regularly and founded on the basis of co-production and mutual respect. They are developing solutions to challenge the structural, physical, and attitudinal barriers that disabled people face which will form our new Disability Rights Action Plan for Wales. 

This will build on the ‘Action on Disability: The Right to Independent Living’ framework. With this, we can positively lay the foundations for a truly inclusive Wales.

The Minister added:

Promoting and embedding the Social Model of Disability, in both Welsh Government and public bodies across Wales, is a firm priority of this Government.

Through helping those who, make decisions and develop policy to understand their part in pulling down the barriers that ‘disable’ people, real transformation can begin.