Speech at Party Conference 2018

I am Charles Fifield, I am a Borough Councillor in Cheshire West and Chester and last year I was our Parliamentary Candidate for Bootle in Merseyside, where we got over 6,000 votes and came second for the first time in 20 years.

As a Borough Councillor, I have always tried to advance the causes of my fellow disabled people, I have Fascio-Scapural Humeral Muscular Dystrophy, I was proud to help establish and initially Chair our Council’s Disability Access Forum, to ensure disabled people’s voices have the opportunity to be heard at an early stage in design and development schemes to make them more accessible. 

More inclusive design is often simple and straightforward to include at an early stage and things like street furniture, benches, benefit both disabled people like me who have difficulty walking but also older people with mobility issues.

Sometimes the simplest things can make a huge difference, I’m sure everyone here loves the colour blue however people with Dementia can confuse it with water so be careful using it as a colour for floor coverings in public buildings.

I’m also proud to be a member of the Conservative Disability Group and I would urge fellow Conservatives to join.

I am a Conservative because I believe in Opportunity, that everyone should have the opportunity to work hard for a better life for themselves, their family and their community.

I am sure that everyone in this room believes that disabled people should have the same opportunities as everyone else.  As Conservatives we have long cherished this principle.

It was a Conservative Government in 1995 which enacted pioneering legislation that saw a sea change in access to buildings and services for disabled people.  We have continued that tradition in Government, reforming an out of date disability benefits programme, encouraging businesses to recruit more disabled people and ensuring that disabled people will have the support we deserve.

I know from personal experience just how beneficial this is and I would encourage everyone to look at “Access to Work” to see how it can help disabled people in the workplace.

Thank you Conference, thank you for the opportunity to speak.