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Regional Planning and Development: North of England

Question for Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities

UIN 72413, tabled on 9 November 2021

To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what assessment he has made for the implications of his policy of the IPPR's report entitled, Time to act: Understanding the impact of Covid-19 on disabled people in the north of England, published 3 September 2021 on levelling up to address inequalities.

Answered on

19 November 2021

Since the start of this pandemic, this Government has worked hard to ensure disabled people have access to employment support, disability benefits, financial support, food, medicines, as well as accessible communications and guidance during the COVID-19 outbreak.

As we recover from the pandemic, we are committed to taking action to create a society that works for everyone so we can build back better, and fairer, levelling up opportunities for disabled people. That is why the Government published the National Disabled Strategy on 28 July, ensuring we improve disabled people's everyday lives across jobs, housing, transport, education, shopping, culture, justice, public services, and data and evidence.

We are also making a systemic change in the way we tackle regional inequalities to ensure no one is left behind. The forthcoming Levelling Up White Paper will build on existing action across Government to drive change for years to come in every part of the UK.

We are already taking action to improve public services, particularly where they are weakest, including health and education services:

  • We have announced a £2.6 billion over the Spending Review period for school places for children with special educational needs and disabilities, more than tripling current capital funding levels to over £900 million by 2024-25.
  • We are improving access to critical diagnostic services across the country whilst targeting investment at areas of deprivation, by investing £2.3 billion over the Spending Review period to increase the number of Community Diagnostic Centres, including building 8 in the North East and Yorkshire and 5 in the North West.
  • As part of the Plan for Jobs, we are continuing funding worth £339 million per year for existing disability employment programmes such as the Access to Work scheme and the Work and Health programme.
  • We are also providing an additional £156 million over the Spending Review period to provide job finding support for disabled people, with a focus on additional work coaches.