Children and Families Bill debate

Scope has been inundated with support from across the country for our campaign for better local services for disabled children and their families.

Thousands upon thousands of emails, letters, postcards, wish stars and memories have been sent to MPs calling on them to take action as part of our Keep Us Close campaign. And they have a real opportunity to do so with theChildren and Families Bill, poised to enter Parliament in a matter of weeks.

However, the impact that this support is having inside Westminster is not always so easy to see.

On Wednesday this week, a debate is being held in Parliament specifically on why the Government must improve local services for disabled children and their families. Tabled by Angela Smith MP, this gives MPs who have a strong interest in supporting disabled children and their families a chance to quiz the Government on their proposals – and tell them why they must be strengthened.

Local services for disabled children

Scope has been calling on the Government to improve inclusive and accessible local services for disabled children and their families by strengthening something called the ‘local offer’ which is contained in the Government’s proposals.

Currently, the ‘local offer’ is too weak to really make a difference. We want to see a ‘local offer’ that gives parents with disabled children a clear promise of the support that they can expect to receive locally – and the right to hold their local authority to account so that they receive this support.

The families we speak to have to battle too hard, too often, to get this support – and when they do, they have to travel far too far away to get it. That’s just not right.

Children and Families Bill debate

The debate is being held in the ornate Westminster Hall, and will be one of the final chances that MPs have to ask the Government Minister, Edward Timpson MP, what he is doing in the Bill to improve local services for disabled children and their families. The Bill is due to enter Parliament imminently at the start of its passage to become law, and we know that MPs from all across the House of Commons – and from all political parties – feel very strongly that the Government must get the reforms right.

But main reason they feel strongly that this must not be a wasted opportunity is because they know how important an issue this is for their constituents – the people they represent. For months now, their postbags and inboxes have been filled with Scope supporters telling them they can’t let this opportunity pass.

Alongside the support of all our campaigners, we are working with MPs to turn up the pressure on the Government to make sure they get the reforms right, and Wednesday afternoon gives them a real chance to do so.

You can watch the debate at 4.30pm on Wednesday 20 January.