An Affront to Dignity, Inclusion and Equality: Coronavirus and the Impact of Law, Policy, Practice and Access to Services on People with Disabilities in the United Kingdom

Associated people

The Oxford University Disability Law & Policy Project and the Bonavero Institute of Human Rights, with the support of a group of leading academics working on disability law, have produced a policy report which describes the impact of coronavirus related law, policy and practice on people with disabilities in the United Kingdom. This Report is based on material the authors submitted to the House of Commons Women and Equality Committee inquiries on the unequal impact of Covid-19 and the Coronavirus Act 2020 on People with protected characteristics and papers given at a University webinar on Disability in the Context of the Coronavirus Crisis. The unequal impact of the coronavirus crisis, charted in the essays, in this report is startling. In June, the Office for National Statistics Data revealed that almost 60% of deaths from coronavirus in the UK have been people with disabilities. Disabled women are 2.4 times more likely to die from Covid-19 and men with disabilities 1.9 times more likely to die. These risk levels rise to 11.3 times for disabled women aged under 65 and 6.5 times for men. The Report makes twenty-two recommendations, including on the need for a national inquiry to understand the scale of Covid-19 related deaths and to examine why this groups have carried such a heavy burden for the pandemic.

A common theme throughout the report is the evidence of the failure of the government to implement properly its legal duties with respect to the rights of people with disabilities. One of the authors Dr Marie Tidball, Co-ordinator of the Oxford University Disability Law and Policy Project, comments:

We urge the government to undertake an immediate review of legislation passed during the coronavirus crisis and change this and all associated policymaking to meet its duties under the Equality Act 2010 and commitments to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. We need government to produce a disability inclusive response to Covid-19, which draws on the experiences of disabled people and disabled people’s organisations, to mitigate the immediate impacts of the coronavirus crisis, along with its long-term economic and social consequences.

Access the Report here:

Dr Marie Tidball

Dr Brian Sloan

Professor Anna Lawson

Professor Jonathan Herring