BEING disabled in Britain is a journey less equal, according to the Equality and Human Rights Commission.

We are failing people with disabilities and we are failing them time and time again, their recent report says.

The UK and its government is failing disabled people in ways that are at least life-changing and sometimes life-threatening, in ways that are as shameful as they are common.

Despite equality being enshrined in protective legislation, disabled people are facing more barriers, falling further behind as they try to thrive in an environment characterised still by obstruction, misunderstanding and austerity measures that hit home repeatedly.

As a result of my own medical needs, I’m likely to need a wheelchair in the next few years, a prospect that fills me with dread – not because I fear the chair itself, but an increasingly hostile world.

My eyes are increasingly open to the problems I’ll face and - rather than a move towards equality - I’m seeing an escalation of issues alongside a deterioration of hard fought for services, rights and funding.

People with disabilities have always had to operate in a world unwilling to properly accommodate their needs.

We’ve all heard anecdotes about disabled toilets used as stockrooms or blocked off by restaurant tables, about public transport and facilities on-board remaining frustratingly inaccessible, about hate crime, discrimination and obstruction after needless obstruction.

In the past, I’ve been reassured by the thought that those who were battling for change were making progress - a glacial kind of progress, perhaps, but in the right direction.

Faced with the EHRC’s report and the lived experiences of people with disabilities, carers, charity workers and campaigners, I no longer have that confidence.

My belief in the inevitability of a fairer world for disabled people has been eroded in recent years by a callous Tory government, welfare reform and savage local authority cuts.

The EHRC’s report – Being Disabled in Britain 2016: A Journey Less Equal – uses startling data to highlight the disparities between the lives of those with disabilities and those without.

It found that more disabled people than non-disabled live in poverty or are materially deprived, with welfare reforms having a “disproportionate, cumulative impact” on an independent and adequate standard of living for disabled people.

Disabled people are more likely to be in food poverty, to have problems finding housing and to be affected by the bedroom tax.

They are underrepresented in politics, find it harder to access support and transport, experience significant health inequalities, are less likely to be in employment and have lower attainment rates in education.

Soberingly, the report says “the overall picture emerging from the data is that disabled people are facing more barriers and falling further behind.”

As the report says, “it is a badge of shame on our society that millions of disabled people in Britain are still not being treated as equal citizens and are denied the everyday rights others take for granted.”