Activity Alliance responds to the Chancellor's 2023 Spring Budget
Today the Chancellor delivered the 2023 Spring Budget in Parliament. Measures announced included £63 million to support public swimming pools in England.
Another was the removal of the Work Capability Assessment and a new voluntary employment scheme for disabled people and people with health conditions called Universal Support.
In response Activity Alliance's Chief Executive, Adam Blaze, said:
"We welcome the targeted support for leisure centres with swimming pools, with local facilities vital for so many disabled people. They are a fundamental part of our communities and any health improvement strategies. We, alongside more than 200 sport and activity organisations warned of the threat of their closure, and a potential national crisis, in a letter to the Prime Minister last month. The allocated financial support is critical so that facilities can continue to provide such essential local services for so many.
"Another major announcement today was the publication of the Health and Disability White Paper. We along with other organisations will analyse and examine this paper. As the leading voice for disabled people in sport and activity, we note in its conclusion the statement ‘a person’s disability or health condition should not determine their opportunities in life’. We ask the government to take this approach more widely across all departments. Being active needs to be an attractive offer that fits into everyone’s life, not restricted by the wider systemic barriers that limit our choices.
"We were pleased to see the announcement of additional powers with the Trailblazer Devolution Deal to West Midlands Combined Authority, a significant partner in the last few years. Within this Deal is an agreement to drive forward the ambition to be an exemplar region for disabled people. We were proud to help shape Include Me West Midlands, engaging disabled people and people with long-term health conditions to be physically active.
"Today’s announcements in the budget focussed on breaking down employment barriers for disabled people and providing new financial support. This needs to be backed with more welcoming, accessible and inclusive workplaces. Far too often it is employers’ misconceptions that let disabled people down in recruitment and employee retention. We are very aware that sport and activity organisations are missing out on so much disabled people’s talent. Activity Alliance will continue to support other organisations to embed inclusive practices that mean disabled people want to work and remain within our field, at all levels.
"Disabled people participate in sport and activity less than non-disabled people and are also twice as likely to be inactive. There remains considerable work to do to ensure there is a level playing field for disabled people whether as participants, workforce or spectators. We continue to raise concerns about disparities evidenced through our robust insight."