A brief history of UK Disability and Access Legislation

Shortly after World War II, the UK government introduced the National Assistance Act (NAA, 1948) which called for, amongst other things, the establishment of welfare services for people with disabilities (PwD); with the Attlee government asserting that ‘the guiding principle of welfare services should be to ensure that all handicapped persons, whatever their disability, should have the maximum opportunity of sharing in and contributing to the life of the community, so that their capacities are realised to the full, their self-confidence developed, and their social contacts strengthened’.

Though the NAA made significant improvements in the lives of PwD through the universal provision of healthcare and medical assistance, there was no mention of the built environment.

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