Tag Archives: david buxton

Temporary reprieve for funds for disabled election candidates

Last month, David Buxton wrote about how the Government’s freezing of the Access to Elected Office Fund meant that he simply couldn’t stand in the 2017 General Election:

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.

More United ran a campaign to restore the fund and Lib Dem MPs, including Christine Jardine and Stephen Lloyd, wrote to the Government to tell them of the importance of supporting disabled candidates.

This week, they won a legal challenge and secured the fund for the 2019 elections.

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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 …

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Deaf Councillor David Buxton asks council for more support

The Epsom Guardian reports:

A deaf councillor is being forced to spend a lot of his own money on sign language interpreters in order to fulfil his duties to his constituents.

Lib Dem Councillor David Buxton, who is believed to be the only deaf councillor in the UK using interpreters, says that he pays up to £300 a month for their services, despite only getting £160 a month in expenses from the council.

Epsom and Ewell council’s website recommends that councillors meet with “key local stakeholders” and “deal with all residents enquiries.”

It pays for interpreters for all council meetings, working groups, civic occasions and formal ward surgeries – but is refusing to pick up the bill for other events Coun Buxton attends such as non-official residents meetings.

However the council says that it has contacted the Disability Rights Commission and is fulfilling its obligations under equalities legislation.

Coun Buxton, who represents Court Ward, and is the chief executive of the British Deaf Association which raises awareness of deaf issues , said: “It is very difficult to manage as a councillor with a disability.

“I want to represent my community and campaign, but it is costing me a lot of money to do so.

“The council should do more to help, especially at local resident’s group meetings. The council feels these groups should pay for signers, but they don’t have any funding at all and are voluntary.

“All I want to do is have a full communication with my residents as their local councillor and at the moment I don’t feel this is the case.”

Lib Dem leader Julie Morris said that the money available to Coun Buxton is simply not enough to perform his role as an active councillor as set out on the council’s “how to be a councillor” section of the website.

She said: “The reality is that if he wants to be a good and active councillor he is going to have to fund it himself.

“It is difficult because he is having to pay a lot of money to do his role – far more than any other councillor.”

Back in September, Councillor Buxton spoke in the diversity debate at Liberal Democrat Conference, highlighting the difficulties he faces as a Deaf politician. His speech, which was translated from British Sign Language to English, was featured on BBC’s See Hear, a magazine show for the Deaf community.

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