Through my role as the Minister for Disabled People, Health and Work the Prime Minister has asked me to lead on our DWP Green Paper and the National Strategy for Disabled People. These ambitious cross-government programmes are looking to make sure disability policy is prioritised in all departments.

This is vital work. One in 5 people in the UK have either a disability or a long-term health condition, most developing during their working age. Both programmes will be extensively consulted on in the coming months and shaped by disabled people, disability forums and disability stakeholders – real lived experience at the very heart of our plans.

Firstly, on the DWP Green Paper this will look at Disability Benefits and Employment Support.

As a Government whilst we have increased support through Disability Benefits by £10bn, we recognise much more can be done to improve the experience of accessing support. The key areas are: access to supportive evidence and appropriate advocacy, improving the assessment process, and strengthening Mandatory Reconsiderations and Appeals. By working closely with the NHS, we need to secure better supportive evidence which increases the speed and likelihood of getting the correct level of support right first time. We need to be pro-active - involving advocates who can provide vital support and embracing the opportunities of telephone and video assessments, providing a menu of options for claimants.

On Employment Support, we are proud that 1.3 million more disabled people were in work since 2013 – 4.1m a record high. We are ambitious to go further with our commitment for an additional 1m more disabled people in work by 2027.

Sharing best practice amongst employers through our Disability Confident scheme and providing financial assistance for technology, travel costs or supporting workers through our Access to Work scheme were key.

We need to invest in the Access to Work digital system to provide a faster, more tailored service. Also, as a society we lose 300,000 people a year from the workplace due to ill-health, so we have to be better at providing support for employers where someone is at risk of dropping out of work.

Secondly, on the National Strategy for Disabled People the Prime Minister has instructed each Government Department to nominate a Ministerial lead and identify policies and priorities that will support disabled people.

I chaired the first inter-ministerial taskforce of these Ministers last week, which included Robert Buckland MP as the Lord Chancellor, who is personally very supportive of this work.

Each department set out their current thinking, policy and spending plans. These will all be published and consulted on with disabled people so they can determine if their priorities and focus are right. Ideas included improved training, guidance and awareness. Also bids in the Spending Review and future Budgets for more accessible transport, housing and services. There was a real commitment for joint working with each Minister wanting to play their part.

When I spoke to a young disabled lad on a visit, he summed up why this mattered so much.

I asked what one change he would make if he was the Minister, ‘I just want to have the same chances my friends take for granted’.

I am hugely excited by this work, it is a real opportunity to deliver a more inclusive society, unlocking every disabled person’s potential as a given.