Peterborough autism campaigners welcome city MP’s contribution in Parliament debate

Peterborough autism campaigners have welcomed the contribution of a city MP during a debate in the House of Commons.

By Joel Lamy
Friday, 6th March 2020, 5:00 am

MP for Peterborough Paul Bristow contributed to a discussion on health inequalities on Wednesday, where he spoke about what the Government can do to improve outcomes for people with the disability.

The Conservative MP, who is part of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Autism (APPGA), told fellow members: “My interest in the subject stems from speaking directly with constituents on the doorstep who tell me about their experiences.”

He added: “It is worth briefly reminding honorary members what autism is. It is a lifelong development disability that affects how people perceive the world and interact with others. Not everyone’s brain works the same way.

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Paul Bristow speaking about autism during a debate in Parliament

“Autistic people see, hear and feel the world differently from other people. They are autistic for life; autism is not an illness or a disease and it cannot be cured. Often, people feel that being autistic is a fundamental aspect of their identity.

“Autism is much more common than most people think, with around 700,000 people in the UK having this condition.

“The Autism Act 2009 is over 10 years old. We have made considerable progress since that legislation was passed, but the APPG on autism has listed a series of recommendations on how the Government might do more in this area.

“I am confident that this Government will rise to the challenge on autism and I ask ministers to consider closely the APPG report and act on the recommendations within it.”

Mr Bristow also praised the work of Autism Peterborough and the Enabling Independence Service in Peterborough, as well as former Labour city council candidate Nazreen Bibi.

Autism Peterborough is a non-profit start up looking to create a choice in services for autistic people and their families in Peterborough and the surrounding area.

Jackie from the group said: “At Autism Peterborough we are really pleased to see our MP Paul Bristow speaking on autism at the House of Commons. It’s good to hear him talking on health inequalities and diagnosis for autistic people and encouraging his ministers and MPs to consider closely the APPG for autism’s recommendations.

“We were encouraged to hear he has been listening to his constituents in Peterborough of their experiences. We know only too well about the real lack of choice in services and support in our area.

“We really need targeted funding from government: personalised support. Not a one size fits all approach for autistic people (children and adults) and their families.”

The group’s contact email is [email protected]

Ms Bibi said: “I commend our MP Paul Bristow’s efforts and ambition for Peterborough to become a autism friendly city.

“There is a need, however, for an overhaul of systemic national and local policies, and the significant deficit in resources - including funding and expert input - must be fully addressed. Only then will our city become autism friendly.”