In the United Kingdom if Parliament were to accurately reflect the population of the country, then it would have at least 65 disabled MP’s. To help address this imbalance a government backed has been launched to encourage more disabled people into politics, and to improve public attitudes to disability. On a practical and financial level the training and development scheme includes plans for a ?1m fund to help disabled politicians meet costs.
Apart from providing access to funds the project also hopes to boost training and development, raise awareness of the challenges faced by disabled people, and promote and explain legal obligations that apply to political parties.
The Access to Elected Office for Disabled People project as it is known, aims to develop a cross-party group of disabled MPs and councillors, who would then go on to become ambassadors and role models for other would be disabled politicians.
Despite there being over 10 million people registered as disabled in the UK, there are no statistics available on the number of disabled candidates standing during local of national elections. This lack of accurate figures is partly due to the fact that the election bodies and the relevant authorities are not obliged to disclose such information.
Copyright Disability Job Board 2013.