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All-Party Parliamentary Group for Assistive Technology launches in Parliament with John Bercow MP

All-Party Parliamentary Group for Assistive Technology launches in Parliament with John Bercow MP

6th March 2017

Parliament hosted the launch of the brand new All-Party Parliamentary Group dedicated to innovative technology that helps people learn, live and communicate, and promoting its cause in the policy sphere to help millions of people across the country.

On Monday 6th March, House of Commons Speaker, the Rt Hon John Bercow MP, is kindly hosting the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Assistive Technology as it launches in Westminster.

With guests including nine-time gold medal Paralympian Lord Holmes of Richmond MBE, Lord Low of Dalston CBE, Seema Malhotra MP and Matt Warman MP – the group’s Parliamentary Officers – as well as others such as the Rt Hon Lord David Blunkett, and leading charities Leonard Cheshire Disability and the ACE Centre, the launch promises to further propel the policy discussion around disability and learning with assistive technology.

The All-Party Parliamentary Group for Assistive Technology (APPGAT) aims to disseminate knowledge, generate debate and facilitate engagement on assistive technology amongst Members of both Houses of Parliament. The APPG will do this through bringing experts together for roundtable discussions and meeting, briefings, contributing to government consultations, and actively promoting the group and its activities amongst parliamentarians to raise awareness of the subject.

Co-Chair, Paralympian Lord Chris Holmes of Richmond, said of the launch:

“I have been fortunate enough to go to university, qualify as a lawyer, compete at 4 Paralympic Games and become a parliamentarian. Assistive technology was and still is vital to my success, and can be for others – not only for those that have visual impairments, but for those, too, with a wide range of other learning and physical disabilities.

I am confident that with the establishment of this new APPG, we can help raise awareness of this important subject area. I look forward to working with the APPGAT’s other parliamentarians and its network of supporters in order to facilitate discussion and engagement on assistive technology within Parliament.”

These technologies can be life-changing and for many they are vital for independence. They can be used in a variety of ways and for a variety of purposes, helping people to carry out everyday tasks and activities, enhance a person’s safety, support their social participation and monitor their health.

KEY FACTS:

  • Assistive Technology (AT) refers to the equipment, software, program or product systems that can be used to increase, maintain or improve the capabilities of individuals with communication and learning disabilities.
  • The number of people in the UK who need to use AT/Assistive ICT is increasing dramatically - 57% of 18 to 64 year olds are likely or very likely to benefit from using assistive technology.
  • There are 12.9 million disabled people in the UK, 20% of the UK population - by 2030 it is expected the number of disabled people will rise to approximately 17 million - many of whom could benefit from using some form of AT.

KEY ISSUES

  • INDEPENDENCE: AT is crucial in enabling people to live independent lives.
  • SKILLS: Assessing children’s and adults needs for AT requires a skilled workforce.
  • EDUCATION: Training and support for school and college staff is key in enabling AT to be used effectively within an educational setting.
  • EMPLOYMENT: Helping employers to understand how AT assists disabled people enter the workforce and develop talent.
  • RESEARCH: Promoting understanding of the impact, outcomes and cost efficiency savings to be made by investment in AT.
  • INNOVATION: AT innovation is crucial for the development of new, more streamlined, approaches to overcoming barriers associated with a variety of impairments or disabilities.

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The All-Party Parliamentary Group for Assistive Technology
The All-Party Parliamentary Group for Assistive Technology