Coronavirus Act Easements must end now

The easements have had a devastating impact on Deaf and Disabled people and we call on the Government to end them now

Restore the Rights of Disabled People

Scrap the Coronavirus Act easements

The Coronavirus Act contains provisions allowing local authorities to reduce vital social care duties, weakens support and education for disabled children and young people, and enables the removal of basic legal safeguards that could severely impact the rights of people coming into contact with the mental health system. 

You can find more information about the impact of the easements in education and social care in our briefings below:

The evidence is clear as to the lethal and disproportionate impact this pandemic has had on disabled people. ONS figures show that disabled people have made up two thirds of all Coronavirus deaths and people with health conditions have been the hardest hit. Research by Mencap revealed care packages have been halved for most people with learning difficulties and CQC figures show deaths of people with learning difficulties receiving care rose by 134%.  Likewise the number of deaths for people detained under the Mental Health Act has more than doubled mainly because of Covid 19 related deaths.  

Many Disabled people were left without essential social care support, struggled to access food and healthcare. Inclusion London’s report Abandoned, Forgotten and Ignored paints a stark picture of disabled people’s experiences during the pandemic.

The Disabled Children’s Partnership found that 76% of families say ALL support has stopped since lockdown.   Alliance for Inclusive Education (ALLFIE) survey found that 83% of parents were expected to home school their disabled children. The majority of disabled pupils and students have been left without any education because of the inaccessibility of remote education.

With the potential of a second wave, it is imperative that the rights of disabled people are protected, not diminished.  

At a time when Disabled people need care, support, safeguards and education the most, the powers for central and local government to reduce their legal responsibilities are wholly unacceptable. 

Disabled people’s lives must be valued equally. Removing rights causes disadvantage and discrimination, and puts mental and physical health at risk.   

As the Coronavirus Act approaches its six-month review, now is the time to recognise the devastating impact the exercise of these powers has had and to restore the legal rights of disabled people.  

We believe amendments are necessary to remove those provisions from the Coronavirus Act 2020, alternatively the government should confirm that:

  • Social care easements will be switched off by the Department of Health and Social Care;
  • Easements affecting the rights of people detained under the Mental Health Act will not be implemented by the Department of Health and Social Care;
  • The easements related to Children and Family Act will not be implemented by the Department of Education.