Interview: Lilian Greenwood MP to take over from Seema Malhotra MP as Co-Chair of the APPGAT
Seema Malhotra MP, who has been with the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Assistive Technology since its launch in 2017, is stepping down as Co-Chair and into the role of Shadow Minister for Employment. Seema has been a hugely positive force in the work of the APPGAT, helping us achieve real impact, and we are so pleased she will be continuing as an officer of the group. We are delighted to announce that Lilian Greenwood MP will be the APPGAT’s new Co-Chair. We spoke to Seema and Lilian about their thoughts on the past and future of the APPGAT.
Seema, what has the APPGAT focused on during your time as Co-Chair?
I’m most proud of the work we’ve done in education- from early years to universities. Helping build inclusion into the EdTech Strategy has been wonderful, and the research Policy Connect produced on Accessible Virtual Learning Environments is more pertinent now than ever.
Do you have any favourite moments from your work with the APPGAT?
The opportunity to meet disabled students and see them using and benefitting from assistive technologies was a highlight. They were so excited to share the technology with me and it was fantastic seeing disabled students who were so confident and enthusiastic about their studies.
Lilian, what made you want to get involved with the APPGAT?
Seema approached me and told me how important this work is and how successful the group has been in the past. Disabled people’s rights have long been a passion of mine- I am actively involved in the APPG on Deafness so I’ve seen how digital accessibility is key for people with hearing impairments. I’m excited to build on that work with the APPGAT to help enable all disabled people.
What do you see as future priorities for the group?
Well we certainly want to build on the work of the past few years, so there will be a continued emphasis on education. However, we are keen to expand the policy areas of focus to include social care and employment. I’m excited to be one of the Co-Chairs of the upcoming Commission into AT and Employment, alongside Lord Shinkwin. And of course, we must consider the pressing matter of COVID-19 and how the pandemic is affecting and will continue to affect disabled people. I think the APPGAT has a role to play in all of that policy development.
We here at Policy Connect would like to extend a sincere thank you to both Seema and Lilian for their time and commitment to the APPGAT. Our parliamentarians, working in collaboration with disabled people and our passionate associate members, are essential to achieving our goal of ensuring the UK takes full advantage of the enabling powers of assistive technologies.