Decades of progress for Scots disabled people “at risk”


Twenty years of progress towards disability equality under threat in ​Scotland says report  

4th April 2017 by Robert Armour 0 Comments

Decades of gains for disabled people could be wiped out because their needs are not being addressed.

Despite much vaunted government initiatives to tackle disabled inequality, a report by the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) said 20 years of progress could be lost.

Being disabled in Britain is a review into disability inequality in the UK. It builds on the commission’s statutory five-yearly report on equality and human rights progress in England, Scotland and Wales, called Is Britain Fairer?.

Little is being done in the key areas needed to address inequality in Scotland such as educational attainment, disabled access, employment and housing, the report said.  

Worryingly 15% of Scottish wheelchair users were "inadequately housed".

Alastair Pringle, head of EHRC Scotland, said the report brought the disadvantages that Scottish disabled people faced into "sharp focus".

"We have a large pool of skilled and talented people who are unable to fully contribute to Scottish society - economically, socially or civically - because of avoidable barriers,” he said.

"This isn't just a problem for disabled people it's a problem for all Scots - we need to harness this untapped potential.”

The report also highlighted a "persistent and widening" disability pay gap and deteriorating access to justice.

Scottish minister for social security, Jeane Freeman, said she was disappointed the report failed to acknowledge the work the Scottish Government was already doing.

She added: "Indeed, we are the first country in the UK to publish an action plan specifically linked to the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

"Our actions include setting targets to increase the number of disabled people employed in the public sector and seeking to reduce by at least half the employment gap for disabled people across all sectors, working to improve timely access to mental health services, and taking steps to encourage disabled people to report hate crime.

"It also focuses on the learning needs of pupils - in Scotland the attainment and positive destinations of pupils with additional support needs continue to rise."