Bid to make Brexit fears of disabled Scots heard

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The Independent Living in Scotland project has created a series of principles which it says spell out concerns of the disabled community

3rd July 2018 by Gareth Jones 0 Comments

Disabled Scots are being ignored when they air concerns over Brexit, a charity has claimed.

Inclusion Scotland have said that although leaving the European Union will have significant consequences for the one in five Scots who are disabled, their concerns have been nowhere in the room in the major debates over Brexit.

This has led to the charity creating a list of principles that it says articulates the fears that people have ahead of next March.

Inclusion has highlighted that during the referendum almost nothing was made available to disabled people in Scotland to discuss the possible impact of the vote. Following the vote, there was not a single mention of disabled people or disability in the UK government’s position papers on Brexit negotiations.

In the context of this vacuum, the Independent Living in Scotland (ILiS) project has been tasked with plotting a course towards protecting and promoting disabled people’s rights as they are affected by Brexit, now and in the future.

As part of this effort the project has created a statement of principles spell out disabled people’s key concerns about Brexit and their policy asks in relation to these principles.

Susie Fitton, policy officer at ILiS said: “The statement outlines what disabled people want the Scottish Government and the UK Government to do to ensure that disabled people’s rights that originate from EU law keep up with future changes made by the EU, and that they are not diminished, frozen in time or indeed withdrawn altogether.

“Brexit will impact on a wide range of rights and current legal protections for disabled people in Scotland that affect their everyday lives – human rights, discrimination, accessibility, reciprocal agreements for healthcare, social care and social security, and access to funding for their organisations. Yet, all too often disabled people’s voices on these issues are marginalised or overlooked in the big debates over Brexit.”

With much press coverage given to issues such as customs and freedom of movement, issues such as protecting rights for the disabled have taken a back seat in the Brexit debate

Fitton added: “Very few people are talking about how leaving the single market might affect thousands of disabled people who recruit personal assistants from Europe for example, or whether our right to accessible transport that originates in EU law will be safeguarded when we leave the EU.

“We are simply not addressing the key concerns of disabled people in this debate and the need for accessible information so disabled people can have an equal voice in the Brexit debate. We need concrete commitments from the UK and Scottish Governments that disabled people’s equality and human rights will be safeguarded as we leave the EU; that the opportunity will be taken by both governments to enhance disabled people’s rights post-Brexit; and, lastly, that we maintain funding presently coming from Europe for the vital work of disabled people’s organisations.”