Disabled Kent woman says 'We can’t be treated properly until we’re seen and heard,' ahead of General Election

Megan wants to feel seen and heard at this year's General election
-Credit: (Image: Sense)

With less than a week to go until the General Election, many disabled people feel they have been forgotten by politicians. In a poll run by the charity Sense of 1,000 people with complex disabilities in the UK, nearly half - 47 per cent - said disabled people and the issues they face were not important to political parties.

The same number claim politicians don’t do enough to engage disabled people to secure their vote. This is the case of Megan Everson, from Dover, who is blind and has a learning disability.

The 26-year-old describes herself as politically engaged and intends to vote in this year’s election. The young woman hopes the next government will show disabled people that “they do matter”.

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She told KentLive: “I don’t feel seen because I feel like they don’t understand the sort of challenges that I and other people with a disability have to face every single day. I think there needs to be more job opportunities and I feel like the government needs to start being more understanding and considerate of people that are living with different disabilities and find it hard to find a job that will accommodate their different needs.”

Megan was born with Microphthalmos which means she has undeveloped eyes. She added: “I have moderate learning disabilities which means I have much greater difficulty in understanding and learning concepts and literacy and numeracy and also undeveloped social skills.

“I want to change the way disabled people are viewed but no one sees us, and we’re not listened to. We can’t be treated properly until we’re seen and heard.”

The poll reveals that as many as one in four (26 per cent) said they were not optimistic that life would improve for disabled people under a new UK government. A third (33 per cent) believe their vote won’t make a difference to disabled people’s lives, which puts disabled people off voting.

Despite this, more than three quarters (76 per cent) of disabled people say they still plan to vote, even though nearly a quarter of those (21 per cent) are yet to decide who to vote for. The national disability charity Sense is calling for disabled people to be prioritised by the next UK government.

Sense chief executive, Richard Kramer, said: “It’s a disgrace that disabled people, and the societal inequalities they face, have received so little attention by politicians during the election campaign. It’s unsurprising, then, that so few disabled people believe that life will improve under a new UK government.

“But it must improve. The pandemic and the subsequent cost-of-living crisis has exacerbated many of the problems that disabled people and their families already faced.

“Disabled people are struggling to pay for essentials like food and energy. The social care sector, which so many depend on, is in crisis, and the welfare system is in urgent need of reform.

“Whoever forms the next UK government must show disabled people that they do matter to them.”

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