'Time will tell' on disability office

Indira Das-Gupta

Disability charities have reacted with caution to the announcement that the Government is to set up an office for disability issues.

The announcement follows the publication of Improving the Life Chances of Disabled People, a report released earlier this year by the Prime Minister's Strategy Unit. One of the report's key recommendations was that a dedicated government office should be established.

David Blunkett, the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, unveiled the new plans in Canada, during a speech on disability.

A spokesman for the Disabilities Trust said: "We give the announcement a cautious welcome.

It depends how effective the new office is and whether it co-ordinates policy across different government departments, such as health and education."

A spokesman for Scope agreed. "The office needs to employ disabled people and join up across government," he said. "Above all, it needs to take action and not just be a talking shop."

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