Access to Elected Office Fund for disabled people extended to 2015 and annual limit doubled to £40,000

Don’t be afraid of what people see or think of you – try and rise above your disability, keep your chin up and do what you can during the election. Be inspired by what people like the late Lord Ashley of Stoke, Anne Begg and David Blunkett did. I have lost many times over the years, but I don’t give up! At the end of the day people will recognise what you have tried to achieve and admire you for the successes you have achieved.

So says Liberal Democrat candidate David Buxton. David is deaf and has been able to take advantage of a special Access to Elected Office for Disabled People find in order to take part in elections and selections. For him, it’s helped pay for BSL/English interpreters for meetings. Each person can claim up to £40,000 per year.

This fund, established in 2012, has now been extended until March 2015. It covers UK parliamentary and English local elections. Greg Judge and Sal Brinton also share their stories.

Over at the party website, Michael MacDonald, Council candidate for this year, talks about how the fund has helped him:

Having previously stood for election, I knew that the support provided by the Fund was much needed for disabled candidates. The personal cost of standing for election for me was very high, as I needed to pay for British Sign Language translators, and this created a huge barrier to me participating fully in the process. Knowing that I now have access to this support at no personal cost to me is such a relief. Knowing that I can get the support I need, when I need it, is has filled me with confidence and rebuilt my enthusiasm for politics.

If this is something that you could benefit from, you can find details of how to apply here.

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4 Comments

  • Whilst the “Access to Elected Office for Disabled People Fund” only covers additional disability-related costs, I wonder whether a similar funding ‘carrot’ approach could be helpful in increasing the number of female candidates standing for election. Obviously, I suspect the fund may need to have components covering both additional costs and general costs to maximise it’s effect. Whilst it won’t do much to reduce the tilt in favour of male candidates, it might tip the balance in some cases, both to encourage women to come forward for selection and for the final selection between two strong candidates to be more favourable.

  • @Reg Yeates
    No it should be restricted to women – any other grouping simply allows funds to go to men, which in some diversity groups would simply reinforce discrimination against women Remember we need to focus on the real problem namely women are 51% of the population but are under represented. In comparison other diversity groups are well represented.

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