Funding cuts hit station access for disabled travellers
Funding to provide disabled access to railway stations is being cut by nearly half over the next five years, new figures have revealed reports The Independent.
Only one in five stations has step-free access, and campaigners fear that cutting funds will make the situation much worse for disabled people.
The figures emerged less than two years after London's hosting of the Paralympic Games was supposed to herald a new era for disabled people in this country, but charities said this legacy was under threat.
The Department for Transport has cut funding for the Access for All programme from £43m to £25m annually between 2015 and 2019, a reduction of 42 per cent. While the AFA funding was £388m for the nine-year period between 2006 and 2015, the Government has announced only £100m between 2015 and 2019.
Ruth Owen, chief executive of Whizz-Kidz, the charity for disabled children, said: "As a wheelchair user myself, I experience the frustrations of not having the same access to travel or train facilities as non-disabled passengers. For young disabled people to fulfil their potential, being able to travel safely and independently is absolutely paramount. Whether it's travelling to socialise with friends, access health services, education or employment, it's important to recognise that accessible transport can enable young disabled people to enjoy the same opportunities as their peers, and to contribute to society."
Image thanks to The Independent