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Grants of £40,000 for disabled politicians

DISABLED people wanting to be an MP or a councillor can get up to £40,000 to cover the extra costs in gaining election.
The Government Equalities Office has doubled the upper limit on grants from The Access to Elected Office for Disabled People Fund – which pays for expenses such as taxi fares and British Sign Language interpreters – from £20,000 to £40,000.
Since the fund was launched in July 2012, there have been over sixty applications to the fund, which will now also cover parish and town council elections.
Minister for Women and Equalities Helen Grant Helen Grant said: “Disabled people are still under-represented in politics and I believe a strong democracy is an inclusive one. That’s why we need to do more to encourage a diverse mix of candidates and role models to better reflect the society we live in.”
David Buxton, the first deaf BSL-user to be elected as a local councillor, campaigned for 20 years for the fund to be set up, because of his own experiences in being elected as a councillor and standing twice for parliament.
The Liberal Democrat activist had been calling for the grants to be increased for deaf candidates “mainly because of BSL interpreters charging about £250 a day”.
He said: “I am very pleased that they have listened and agreed. This certainly gives deaf people real opportunity to go for standing in the elections.
“We need all political parties, especially local parties, to be fully reassured that this fund will help deaf candidates to do their jobs more effectively without any additional financial burdens to the local parties who heavily rely on volunteers, donations and gifts in kind.”
Applications are open until the end of March 2015.
Tel, 01457 869 714.
Textphone, 020 8964 6324
www.access-to-elected-office-fund.org.uk

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