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Minister for Disabled People meets with the APPGAT

Minister for Disabled People meets with the APPGAT

9th April 2018

The Minister for Disabled People, Sarah Newton MP, meet with the APPGAT to discuss the work the parliamentary group. In her Claxton House office, the Minister stat down with members of here DWP team, and APPGAT Co-Chairs, Seema Malhotra MP and Lord Holmes, as well as APPGAT manager Robert McLaren and Jonathan Shaw, CEO of Policy Connect.

The Minister reaffirmed her enthusiasm for the potential of assistive technology to help disabled people fulfil their potential - and the meeting covered a wide range of topics were the APPGAT program links with the Minister's portfolio. A key focus for the Minister and her team is the Work and Pensions Select Committee inquiry on assistive technology, to which both the DWP and the APPGAT submitted evidence. Assistive technology is also increasingly important to the DWP’s Disability Confident, through which employers receive advice and guidance, including on assistive technology in the workplace. Another major policy area for discussion was the Government's Industrial Strategy, and how this can be used to support the development of new technology for disabled people. The Office for Disability Issues (OfDI) is working with the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) on this issue, and the Minister returned to the theme a few weeks after the meeting when she gave the keynote at the APPGAT event on Industrial Strategy. A thread that ran through the discussion was collaboration, both between government departments - OfID, BEIS, the Department for Education and the Department for Health and Care - and between the assistive technology sector and Government and Parliament.

This was a fantastic opportunity for the APPGAT to establish a relationship with the Minister and the Office for Disability Issues, as the group moves into its second year.