Mr George Lindars-Hammond
Do you identify as a disabled person?
What do you understand by the social model of disability and how is it relevant to the NEC?
The social model of Disability is about viewing the experiences of Disabled people in terms of how society disables us rather than having an inherent disability which needs to be treated medically alone. This is core to representing Disabled members on the NEC as the party can and should be a movement to achieve the societal changes we need to the things that disable us.
How do you see your role as the Disabled Rep on the NEC?
I see this role as foremostly about firmly establishing the voice of Disabled members at the heart of the party. Disabled members have not been empowered to take part in meetings and decisions in the way that works for them and ultimately we need action from the centre to ensure this.
How do you propose to gain the interest and support of those who are not currently personally impacted by disability?
I think there are two sides to this. Firstly, I think most members want to do the right thing by Disabled members but need help to understand the changes that need to be made to change things. Secondly, I strongly believe that on policy, the society
Your constituency is disabled members. What systems will you use to ensure you understand the views of disabled members on agenda items prior to each NEC meeting?
I think at the moment we don’t have enough transparency about agendas to effectively engage members to the fullest extent. If I can secure the transparency I believe that email engagement both to seek views and report feedback on meetings is both the most accessible and speedy. I would work hard to build a strong list.
What systems will use to report back to disabled members about what has happened at each NEC meeting?
See previous answer
What skills, abilities, experience and/or qualifications do you have that enable you to campaign and advocate on behalf of disabled people?
“I’m proud to have been a Councillor in Hillsborough since 2012 and I am Sheffield’s Cabinet member for Health and Social Care. I’ve served in a number of roles across the Labour Party and movement – in local branches and CLP, as a GMB branch officer and as a member of Open Labour’s founding-year committee.
I have hemiplegia, which is a form of cerebral palsy, affecting my left side. I’ve had hemiplegia all my life and it shaped my growing up hugely. I couldn’t always do what others could and gave me experience of being excluded from so many opportunities that we should get to experience growing up.
I have had a huge range of experience in standing up for and representing people. One of my earliest involvements in Disabled people’s activism was when as a teenager, I helped create and run a youth club for autistic young people. Working with others, I realised that many bright young people didn’t have the space to come to and develop and I sought to provide a place for people to come together and thrive.
During my time at University, I was elected to represent Disabled Student’s at the Students Union and chaired the Disabled Student’s committee. I worked hard to refound a moribund Disability committee and whilst I was shocked at the level of discrimination faced by disabled students, by collective organisation we began a long path to better services for all students.
My first job was working for a disability charity, Disability Sheffield as an Employer Engagement Worker, working to increase the employment of disabled people in local businesses. After leaving this role, I became an activist and trustee for Disability Sheffield, remaining on the board for a five-year term, helping the organisation grow in difficult times.
Years later, now as Council cabinet member for social care, am passionate about transforming our services for Disabled people that need our services to thrive. It is a scandal how Disabled people have been cast aside by this Government and Councils face a tough job protecting the services which we rely on.”
Do you think that there is institutional disablism in the Labour Party, if so, at what levels and what would you suggest to the NEC?
I do. We shouldn’t confuse this with open enmity to Disabled members which I haven’t experienced. However, it is clear that the barriers to Disabled people’s involvement are substantial and represent a situation that it is institutionally disablist.
We need to implement a series of changes, including those DEAL advocates for, to ensure that our culture becomes one that is supportive of full inclusion of disabled members.”
When and how did you first hear about the DEAL legal handbook?
I think I heard about it first on Labourlist around the time of the Democracy review.
Are there any sections of the DEAL legal handbook you don’t agree with and why? Do you have suggestions for improvement?
Whilst it is admirably short as a document, with the party’s support, I think a digital version could include searchable advice sections to allow party officials at all levels to quickly find out how to best deal with any situation that faces them.
Do you commit to actively working to make the handbook internal Party policy?
If yes to the previous question, how do you plan to get the NEC to acknowledge the DEAL legal handbook and make it internal policy?
Clearly, we need a proper internal Disabled members policy. There is also limited resourcing to do this. Therefore, the fact that such important legal work has been done should be the centre of the argument to adopt it.
What do you understand by intersectionality and will it be important to your NEC role ?
Intersectionality is the importance of recognising solidarity and shared goals between equality groups. I would want to work with all equality reps on the NEC and beyond to ensure that we raise the importance of equality in the party.
Are you committed to making the UNCRPD incorporated into domestic legislation and why?
I see no reason that this cannot be adopted in a similar approach that the Human Rights Act took. It is important to retain judicial approaches for Disabled people to defend our rights when needed.
How would you abolish WCA?
We are always going to need a way to assess people’s care needs but we need that we trust that people want to work, rather than trying to avoid this and build a system that recognises this.
What do you think should be the Party’s policy priorities in the areas of social care and social security?
As a Council cabinet member for Health and social care, I am passionate about the need for well funded social care which is free at the point of use for all recipients, including working-age disabled people. As part of this, care workers need to be well trained and paid to deliver the support that allows people to live the lives we want to live.
Would you support an independent disability commission?