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Jared's meeting with the PM

PUBLISHED: 20:46 09 June 2003 | UPDATED: 13:59 03 March 2010

JARED Longhurst is counting down the hours today until his cabinet meeting with Tony Blair.

The fifteen-year-old Ipswich schoolboy, who is a wheelchair user, won the opportunity to meet the prime minister in a competition run by the Disability Rights Commission (DRC).

JARED Longhurst is counting down the hours today until his cabinet meeting with Tony Blair.

The fifteen-year-old Ipswich schoolboy, who is a wheelchair user, won the opportunity to meet the prime minister in a competition run by the Disability Rights Commission (DRC).

Tomorrow he will get the chance to tell Mr Blair exactly what he thinks the future for disabled people should be when he takes part in a cabinet-style table discussion in Downing Street.

Jared, who goes to the Thomas Wolsey School, was one of twelve youngsters aged between 11 and 16 asked what they would do if they could be prime minister for the day to improved lives of the disabled.

The Ipswich youngster's invitation to Number 10 came when he suggested paying people to assist the disabled in the workplace.

Jared, who hopes to go on to study for a psychology degree, said: "I would really want to improve disabled people's opportunities if I was prime minister.

"I'd like all children to be taught at school about the issues that disabled people face and I would introduce a 'Buddy' scheme, as they do in the US, which would pay people to assist disabled people in the workplace.

"I'd also give funding for businesses to adapt buildings to provide access for disabled people."

Bert Massie, chairman of the DRC, said this meeting was a great chance for youngsters to get their views across.

He said: "This is a fantastic opportunity for young disabled people to voice their issues to the most powerful person in the county.

"Many disabled people miss out on real opportunities; they are half as likely to get any qualifications, half as likely to go to university and half as likely to get a job as non-disabled people."

The 'PM for the Day' event is part of the DRC's Educating for Equality campaign, which aims to raise awareness of the new rights for disabled people in the education system and to create a more equal society for disabled people of all ages.

N What do you think should be done to give disabled people more opportunities in life? Write in to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or send us an e mail to eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk or visit the forum at www.eveningstar.co.uk

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