From education to employment

The National Deaf Children’s Society is calling on every political party to commit to improving support for the UK’s 1.1 million disabled children

More than two million votes up for grabs among parents of disabled children as #Brexit tumbles to third most important issue

The votes of more than two million parents of disabled children could still be up for grabs this election, a new poll has revealed.

The survey of nearly 1,000 parents, released today, shows that 92% would be likely to vote for a party that committed to improving their disabled child’s support.

As the country prepares to go to the polling station, the results also reveal that Brexit has slipped to the third most important issue among parents of disabled children.

Half of respondents (50%) said support for their child was their primary issue, while the NHS (16%) came second. Education and Brexit (both 12%) came ahead of the economy (4%), the environment (3%) and crime (1%).

The poll, conducted by the National Deaf Children’s Society and four disability campaigning groups, also shows that nine in ten parents don’t feel their child currently gets enough support.

Disabled children may need additional help at school or at home, including specialist care, equipment or visits from trained staff. However, 43% of survey respondents said their child doesn’t get what they need, while almost half (47%) say their child only gets the right support “sometimes”.

The results also show that 71% are worried about the future of their child’s support, with just 8% having any confidence they will get what they need.

The National Deaf Children’s Society, which designed the poll, is now urging every political party to outline exactly how they will improve support for the UK’s 1.1 million disabled children.

Steve Haines, Director of Policy and Campaigns at the National Deaf Children’s Society, said:

“These results show just how concerned parents of disabled children have become and where their priorities lie in this election.

“Brexit may be an important issue to politicians, but more than two million parents are out there anxiously waiting to see who’s going to improve their children’s lives and secure the support they desperately rely on.

“With the right support, disabled children go on to achieve incredible things at school, at university and in the world of work, but they’re currently facing a very uncertain future.

“It’s time for every political party to take on this challenge and commit to providing the support these children need and the world class education they deserve. Only then will we see who is prepared to give disabled children what they need, and who simply is not.”

Gillian Doherty, founder of parents’ campaign network SEND Action, said:

“This survey shows exactly what the parents of disabled children care about. Some of them have fought a lifelong battle to secure support for their child, while for others, it’s just beginning. What these parents have in common is a very real fear for their child’s future.

“There’s now a huge opportunity for political parties across the spectrum to look at the evidence, listen to parents and commit to making vital improvements to the support for disabled children.

“This is could be a turning point in the lives of 1.1 million children, and it’s vital that no party shies away.”

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