A new campaign to restore the political disability fund

I’m taking part in a campaign launched by the cross-party group More United today, to restore the fund that supports deaf and disabled people into political office and I’m asking you to join me by sharing this video and signing the petition here​​

This campaign matters a lot to me. And this is why.

I was the first deaf British Sign Language-user elected to public office, when I was elected as a London Borough councillor in 1990 and again as a District Borough Councillor in 2007.  From 1992, I lobbied Parliament and ministers to provide greater funding for candidates with disabilities. In 1997 and 2001, I stood for Parliament on a self-funded basis, raising money to pay for BSL interpreters and support in written English.

For the 2015 General Election, I obtained a grant of £40,000 from the Access to Elected Office Fund, which I used to participate in the Liberal Democrat candidate-selection process. But I could not have participated without the Fund’s support.

And​, last year,​ I was effectively barred from standing in the 2017 General Election because of the absence of the Fund.Many o​ther deaf and disabled candidates from ​the Lib Dems and from ​other parties ​are affected too, ​including Emily Brothers from Labour who is blind, ​and Simeon Hart for the Greens who is deaf, both of whom feature in the More United campaign​.​

The Access to Elected Office Fund used to help deaf and disabled people from all political parties, to stand for election, at any level. It ran from 2012-2015, and was intended to create a level playing field, given the additional costs that disabled people can incur when standing for election.

British Sign Language Interpreters, assistive technology for blind people and mobility transport all cost money. But the Fund was frozen, put “under review”, in 2015.

That review has not been conducted or completed, and the Fund has not been re-opened. The Fund has now been closed for longer than it was open so we are calling on the Government to restore it with immediate effect.

I want the chance to participate in the next General Election on a level playing field. It’s unconscionable that the Government might keep this Fund closed. If you care about the democratic process being open to all, ​and letting me and other deaf and disabled people stand for election on a level playing field, ​please support this campaign.

​ ​

* David Buxton is a founder member and vice chair of the Liberal Democrat Disability Association. (Photo courtesy of Sam McMullen)

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3 Comments

  • Good luck with the campaign. As an individual with disabilities i have signed up on the site to support this campaign.

  • Phil Beesley 14th Apr '18 - 9:09pm

    Best wishes.

    I can’t suggest “good luck” to your campaign because it isn’t about luck. It is about decent people from all parties determining to treat disabled people fairly, not as “others”.

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