News story

Access to elected office

This news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

A £2.6 million fund designed to help disabled people overcome barriers to becoming elected officials was launched today.

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Monday, 09 Jul 2012

The new fund will help meet the additional costs a disabled candidate may face in standing for election as police and crime commissioners, councillors or MPs, such as extra transport or sign-language interpreters.

Levelling the playing field

Equalities Minister Lynne Featherstone said:

‘The ten million disabled people in the UK are under-represented in public life and today we are making an important step towards levelling the playing field.

‘This is about breaking down the physical, financial and cultural barriers that prevent many talented people from playing their part in political life.

‘The arrival of police and crime commissioners in November will be the most significant democratic reform of policing in our lifetime. I hope this fund will enable more disabled candidates to come forward and hold the police to account.’

New fund for candidates

The fund will offer individual grants of between £250 and £10,000 to disabled people who want to be selected as candidates for an election, or who are standing for election.

In addition to the fund, a new online introductory training package went live today, tailored to disabled people who are interested in a political career.

The fund and online training are part of the government’s access to elected office strategy which also includes paid internships for disabled candidates on the speaker’s parliamentary placement scheme.